Reinach, Switzerland, 11th March 2010 – Evolva Holding SA (SIX: EVE) today announced that its Danish subsidiary has commenced a research initiative focusing on novel ways to produce vanillin and arabinogalactan proteins. Together with Evolva, the initiative includes four leading Danish research groups from the University of Copenhagen and the Danish Technical University, Danisco, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a major US research institution.
The purpose of the project is to establish microbial cell factories for production of these ingredients by fermentation. Evolva aims to find approaches for a commercially viable and environmentally acceptable production of vanillin as part of the application of its technologies to “white” biotechnology (the application of biotechnology for industrial purposes).
The research initiative is supported by a grant from the Danish Council for Strategic Research. Evolva’s share of the total research grant will amount to approximately CHF 0.7 million. The program is expected to run for four years.
Neil Goldsmith, CEO of Evolva Holding SA, said “Through our Danish operation’s participation in this research initiative we aim to further demonstrate the versatility of our technology platform, which has applications in many business sectors. We are pleased to be part of this distinguished group of collaborators and are confident we will make a significant contribution to this project. The biosynthetic pathways leading to vanillin also have important pharmaceutical potential, and hence the project has dual-use relevance for Evolva.”
About Evolva Holding SA
Evolva's proprietary discovery technology platform uses a disruptive technological approach to the creation of novel small compounds that differs sharply from the prevailing synthetic chemistry and protein engineering approaches in the pharmaceutical industry today. Based on this technology, Evolva has a number of discovery and pre-clinical partnerships which in 2008 generated revenues of about CHF 12 million. Evolva also has an attractive pipeline of compounds - one compound (for renal and cardiovascular diseases) is in Phase I and two others (an anti-fungal and an anti-viral) are in late preclinic. Evolva is listed on the Main Standard of the SIX Swiss Exchange with the ticker EVE.
For more information see www.evolva.com.
Relevant Background Information
Vanillin is an important flavor compound with annual sales around 16,000 tonnes. Of the total, only about 0.25% is natural vanillin, originating from the seed pods of Vanilla orchids. The remainder is currently synthesised chemically from lignin or fossil hydrocarbons. The best known arabinogalactan protein is gum Arabic which is used in the food industry for its unique properties as an emulgator and its health promoting effects.
One of the organisms to be studied in this project is Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker’s yeast).
This is a very attractive production organism in white biotechnology, because it is wellcharacterised, widely used, and has GRAS (“Generally Regarded As Safe”) status. Evolva has extensive knowledge on this organism.
Neil Goldsmith, CEO Jakob Dynnes Hansen, CFO Paul Verbraeken, IR
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