- Swiss flavor and fragrance giant Givaudan made two big announcements about its work with other companies on fermentation-derived ingredients this week. A longtime partnership with Manus Bio resulted in a breakthrough ingredient, which will become available in the fourth quarter of this year. The second announcement involves a new partnership with Ginkgo Bioworks to produce "innovative and natural ingredients" using fermentation.
- Both of the announcements are rather vague on what the breakthroughs and ingredients entail. Manus Bio is an ingredients company focused on turning ordinary inputs into rare and expensive natural ingredients through microbial fermentation. Givaudan said it plans to use the platform of Gingko Bioworks, which specializes in programming cells to produce desired substances through fermentation, to sustainably develop natural ingredients that are otherwise only available in small quantities.
- Givaudan has two major divisions: Taste and Wellbeing, and Fragrance and Beauty. In recent months, it has made major agreements and investments on the Fragrance and Beauty side, but announcements in its ingredients division have been few. According to a transcript of remarks during a July earnings call, CEO Gilles Andrier said investing in innovation is a priority for Givaudan's future growth.
Givaudan unveiled a set of financial goals last year — known as the 2025 strategy — that targets average sales growth of 4% to 5%. Innovation is at the core of reaching those benchmarks through portfolio expansion and the creation of new and solutions for customers.
These partnerships fit right into that strategy, leveraging expertise at other companies to create new and different ingredients for Givaudan to offer to a global consumer audience. If these ingredients are as rare and groundbreaking as the announcements indicate, they could be windfalls for both Givaudan and the companies they are working with.
Manus Bio was founded in 2011 and uses what it calls the BioAssemblyLine Cell Factory process to engineer its target ingredients. This process, as described in an issue of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers' CEP Magazine, uses technologies from metabolic engineering, protein engineering and systems biology to quickly create strains of bacteria that will produce the target ingredient after fermentation.
"With this milestone and a common outlook to the future, we will now expand the application of our sustainable biomanufacturing platform to a number of new ingredients,” Manus Bio CEO Ajikumar Parayil said in the announcement.
Givaudan and Manus Bio have extended their partnership to create these other new ingredients.
Under the agreement terms, Manus Bio will receive upfront payments for ingredient development and milestones met, and it will retain all manufacturing rights. Givaudan will exclusively sell the ingredients worldwide.
The agreement works well for both companies. Givaudan, with its global reach and reputation, has a new ingredient to sell. Manus Bio is getting paid for its development and it has further proof of concept of its process, which can help with future fundraising and build a foundation for other partnerships.
The partnership with Ginkgo seeks to establish more ingredients made in a similar way, though it may not be limited to the Taste and Wellbeing side of Givaudan's business. The release announcing their alliance says this collaboration between Ginkgo and Givaudan spans multiple programs, and others may be added.
"Through this close collaboration, we will be able to help Givaudan transform even the rarest and most complex nature-inspired ingredients into more sustainable products for consumers," Jason Kelly, CEO at Ginkgo Bioworks, said in the statement.
These partnerships make it clear Givaudan is going all in with the latest technology to create new and natural ingredients.
Microbial fermentation is being used to create new sources of protein and natural sweeteners as well as recreating the dairy and eggs that come from animals. But there are a wealth of other naturally occurring substances that can be produced that way. Givaudan's expertise in using natural sources, plus the know how and technology at Ginkgo Bioworks and Manus Bio, could unlock the potential of groundbreaking ingredients for the future.