Senomyx granted US patent for bitter blockers

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Stevia

Flavor ingredients firm Senomyx has been granted a US patent for two bitter blocker flavor modulators intended to mask bitter notes associated with several common food and beverage ingredients.

The California-based company received FEMA GRAS notification (generally recognized as safe status from the Flavor Extract Manufacturers Association) in October for the bitter blockers, S6821 and S7958. The patent covers the composition of the ingredients, as well as their use in food and beverage formulations, supplements, oral care and certain pharmaceutical products.

In foods and beverages, the ingredients are intended to mask bitter notes associated with rebaudioside A, the stevia extract most commonly used in stevia-based sweeteners, or to mitigate bitter notes associated with soy and whey proteins, menthol, caffeine and cocoa.

Senomyx CEO Kent Snyder said: “The broad scope of our new patent underscores the wide-ranging market opportunity for Senomyx’s bitter blockers. These novel flavor ingredients can meet manufacturers’ needs by enabling a significant reduction in bitterness without altering other product properties. Senomyx’s bitter blockers could also allow manufacturers to forgo the use of masking agents or sweeteners to counter unwanted bitter tastes, which may provide both cost-of-goods and nutritional benefits.”

Snyder added that the S6821 bitter blocker is currently being evaluated by companies that collaborate with Senomyx to assess its potential for commercialization, and has also attracted attention from prospective new partners.

Senior vice president and chief scientific officer at Senomyx Don Karanewsky said: “It is especially beneficial for the company to be granted composition-of-matter claims, which corroborate the novelty of our flavor ingredients and provide the broadest patent coverage.”

As of May 10, Senomyx was the owner or exclusive licensee of 247 patents relating to its proprietary technologies for discovering novel flavor ingredients, as well as composition and usage claims for flavors and flavor modulators. In 2010, the company added 50 new patents to its portfolio, and just last month, it was granted a US patent for sucralose enhancer S2383, which it says can be used to cut the amount of sucralose in products by up to 75 percent.

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