Firmenich to jointly develop fragrance with US biotech company

By Simon PItman

- Last updated on GMT

Switzerland-based flavours and fragrance giant Firmenich is to jointly develop a fragrance ingredient with biotechnology company Amyris.

The joint development agreement will mean that Firmenich will fund technical development to enable California-based Amyris to develop a ‘sustainable, cost-effective and reliable source of a key ingredient’ for the fragrance arena.

Exact information about the type of ingredient and its source are being held back at this stage, due to the sensitive nature of the development, but Amyris CFO Jeryl Hilleman confirmed to USA that the fragrance would be derived from a plant sugar.

Firmenich is planning to launch the ingredient worldwide and says that it will initially be targeted at a key area of the personal care industry, while there will be scope to extend its application to a second ingredient in the near future. It will retain worldwide commercialization rights.

Amyris to manufacture the ingredient

The agreement means that Amyris will manufacturer and supply the fragrance to Firmenich, which in turn will market and distribute it worldwide, while profits will be divided between the two companies.

“As an industry leader in research and innovation, we see and capture breakthrough ideas from around the world,”​ said Patrick Firmenich, CEO of Firmenich.

“Amyris’s technology platform offers great potential to be a key source for sustainable and high-quality ingredients used in the fragrance and flavor market.”

Amyris technology develops 'living factories'

Amyris has forged a name for itself from its synthetic biology platform which has evolved by applying industrial synthetic biology to genetically modified micoroorganisms to serve as what are referred to as ‘living factories’.

“The fragrance and flavor market offers a significant additional opportunity for growth in our renewable chemicals business,”​ said John Meto, CEO of Amyris.

Firmenich has been finely tuning its business operations to sustainability of late, a factor that was underlined when it announced four sustainable ingredient sourcing partnerships last month.

Sustainable supply partnerships in Egypt, Madagascar and Haiti are set to launch in fiscal 2011, and the groundwork is being laid for the establishment of sustainability partnerships in India, Guatemala, Malaysia and Indonesia, the company revealed in its sustainability report.

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