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Virun secures ‘significant’ equity stakes in beverage brands

By Ben Bouckley+

14-Jan-2013
Last updated on 16-Jan-2013 at 17:26 GMT

The CEO of Californian biotech company Virun has revealed to BeverageDaily.com that his firm has sealed two novel equity deals that involve it taking significant equity stakes in beverage brands, in exchange for access to its patented ingredient delivery technologies.

Philip Bromley told this publication that the firm had secured the equity stakes – as yet the finer details including the brand names are confidential – in exchange for exclusive access to Virun’s patents for their specific beverage application.

Brands poised for launch

Virun also had exclusivity – as a supplier – and the agreement was performance-based, Bromley added, while the beverages were expected to be released in the next few months.

“This is an interesting business model, because not only does it allow Virun to sell more of its Omega-3 concentrates, but also allows for Virun to take advantage of the finished beverage brands by owning stock in their companies," he said.

“I don’t know of many businesses in our industry that produce concentrates or raw materials that have been able to acquire significant shares in the finished beverage brand in addition to performance as well as exclusivity.”

Branded product pipeline

In December VPX Sports announced the release of what it claimed was a energy/sports drink , BANG, and Bromley said that Virun had several finished products aside from these that were also being produced by the company.

(VPX partnered with VIRUN and the Specialty Products Division at Hormel Foods to combine a patented CoQ10 encapsulation technology exclusive to the BANG formulation and composition.)

"Their facilities in Weston Florida have been validated for our process. So we have beverage capabilities that stretch from the raw material concentrate, such as Omega-3,. coQ10, CLA and Vitamin D all the way to finished product, graphics and labeling," Bromley said.

"VPX has a state-of-the-art facility that maintains quality all-the-while keeping the cost less than what would be expected otherwise. We are running several pilot production runs of CLA Omega-6 for weight management beverages."

Life beyond omega-3

Beyond Omega-3, Bromley said that Virun planned to launch several new concentrates not yet seen in the industry.

Virun’s current technologies include Coenzyme Clear and OmegaH20, which allows for encapsulation of CoQ10 and Omega-3 EPA and DHA into water-soluble, clear, shelf stable ingredients.

An agreement with Hormel Foods allows for the incorporation of nutrients such as CoQ10 and Omega-3 EPA and DHA into finished food and beverage products that had not been fortified before.

Bromley told this publication that the bulk of Virun’s clients were interested in the firm’s Omega-3 incorporation technologies.

“It can be somewhat scary at times. We say, ‘everyone wants Omega-3, how can we create a business around Omega-3," he said.

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