Fermentation fuels ingredient innovation
Active ingredients that can be produced at scale in a sustainable and natural way are in short supply and high demand.
For many applications, manufacturers of nutraceuticals, dietary supplements, pharmaceuticals and personal care products have little choice but to use ingredients that are produced via highly polluting chemical synthesis. Vitamins are a case in point. Most brands on the market today rely on vitamins that are produced synthetically from non-renewable petrochemicals, most often in Asia. However, as we transition towards a greener economy, it is becoming increasingly apparent that such ingredients fall short of both consumer and manufacturer expectations in terms of their transparency, sustainability and natural credentials.
Danish biotech firm Biosyntia has pioneered a unique biotechnology that has the potential to transform the way that active nutritional ingredients are produced. The company has developed a first-of-its-kind proprietary precision fermentation platform that offers a sustainable alternative to inefficient botanical extraction and petrochemical production methods. The highly efficient fermentation process uses carbohydrate from sugar beets, significantly reducing land use and solvent use.
Biosyntia ApS has already used the platform to build a portfolio of bio-based active ingredients that includes B-vitamins, terpenes and flavonoids, for use in personal care, human and animal nutrition products.
BIO-B7 – a sustainably produced B-vitamin, is the most advanced ingredient in the company’s pipeline. Raising €17.5m in its latest funding round has enabled Biosyntia to realise its ambition of commercialising the world’s first natural and sustainably produced biotin (vitamin B7); pilot production has now commenced and samples are available.
Biosyntia’s partnership with Munich-based WACKER Group will contribute towards successful scale-up of biotin production. The two companies are jointly developing a large-scale biotin production process based on Biosyntia’s fermentation technology. Biosyntia has also signed an in-licensing deal with French biotech firm Lantana, with the aim of introducing the first sustainably produced fermented flavonoids to the nutraceutical ingredients market.
Indeed, value-sharing collaborations are a cornerstone of Biosyntia’s business model. Since the company’s inception, it has joined forces with more than 20 academic partners and 20 industry partners.
Strategic partnerships with in-market players facilitate market access and ensure the relevance of Biosyntia’s active ingredients to target audiences. For example, in 2021, the company entered into a long term partnership with flavours and fragrances giant Givaudan, with the joint objective of exploring the application of fermentation technology for producing flavour ingredients that are not currently available from natural sources.
Building the company with In-licensing and acquisition of new technologies is also a focus of Biosyntia. Martin Plambech elaborates: “Our in-house team has decades of industry expertise in microbial engineering, process optimisation, process scale-up and production, analytics as well as sales and marketing. This means we can commercialise new technology relatively fast. And the more ingredients we have in our pipeline, the more synergies we can harvest across operations and sales, which is why we are actively looking for opportunities to acquire, in-license or partner organisations with complementary capabilities.“
This article was originally published in European Biotechnology Magazine Spring Edition 2023.