Firmenich, Amyris Expand Pact to Develop Renewable Ingredients
In a move to create more sustainable and cost-effective ingredients,
Firmenich SA and Amyris Inc.
are expanding their agreement to
develop and commercialize renewable ingredients for the flavors and
fragrances market, with the first
ingredient launch slated for early
2014. Outside of existing Amyris
relationships, the new collaboration
agreement gives Firmenich exclusive
access to Amyris’ technology platform
for the F&F market in exchange for
what the company calls, “significant
funding over the next six years.”
The companies aren’t disclosing
the exact amounts of the funding;
however, under a previous agreement established in November 2010,
Firmenich funded Amyris’ research
and development to produce up to three F&F ingredients, with
an initial fragrance oil targeted for commercialization in early
2014. Under the new agreement, Amyris and Firmenich will
jointly select additional target F&F ingredients that Amyris
will develop and manufacture. Firmenich will market and
distribute any ingredients resulting from the collaboration
exclusively in the F&F market, with both companies sharing
in the “economic value” derived from the sale of these ingredients. P&F;spoke;with;Firmenich’s;CEO,;Patrick;Firmenich,
about the agreement.
Within the industry, we are recognized for investing more than our
peers in innovation. The foundation
of Firmenich is based on leading science: with a Nobel prize laureate,
Leopold Ruzicka, as head of R&D in
our heritage; ongoing collaborations
with leading academics around the
world; leadership in patents across the
industry; leadership in relevant science
publications across our field, etc. But
it’s not just about ‘blue sky science,’
it’s about cutting edge technology that
is relevant to our clients and the market. That’s why our collaboration with
Amyris works so well. We share a common excellence in science combined
with a client-centric approach focusing
on a “fast route to market.”
P&F: Is this agreement because the F&F industry is doing well
lately and has solid growth prospects?
Firmenich: The F&F industry definitely has solid growth prospects worldwide and cost-effective and sustainable solutions are
critical. As you know, innovation and sustainability are critical pillars of our heritage and business model. Thanks to this expanded
partnership, we look forward to consistently providing our clients
with high-quality, sustainable and cost-competitive ingredients.
P&F: What types of renewable ingredients are being developed?
P&F: Why was it important to expand the collaboration now?
Firmenich: This is a strategic partnership for us, grounded in
our long term vision to be the leaders in renewable ingredients
for the fragrance and flavors industry. So we always had in mind
to expand. For us it’s about creating a whole new generation of
ingredients for the F&F market—ingredients that are more
sustainable and cost effective.
We started our work with Amyris in 2010. First, we had to
test the system: make sure that our technologies could work
together and deliver ingredients that could work for our clients
in the market. To pilot our collaboration, we started small with
a few critical renewable ingredients. Based on our promising
work we decided to significantly expand our partnership. Now
that we have tested our thinking and model we are taking it to
the next phase. Our recent expansion is the logical next step as
we progress on our strategy.
P&F: How is Amyris’s technology platform helpful?
Firmenich: It’s about leveraging our heritage and leadership in
chemistry and integrating the benefits of biology to broaden our
technology portfolio. We’re marrying the best of both worlds:
chemistry and biology. Having worked with Amyris for over two
years now, we can say they truly drive science the way Firmenich
likes to drive science. We like to push the boundaries of science.
We enter new territories.
Firmenich: Currently we are working on a first generation of
renewable ingredients, which use sugar as their source of carbon.
But this is just the beginning. Going forward we expect to work
with even more sustainable sources of carbon. From a sustainability standpoint, this is truly game-changing for our industry.
P&F: What are the targeted commercialization dates?
Firmenich: We aim to launch our first ingredient in early 2014.
This will be a game-changing moment for our industry. We
believe it could be our next Hedione [methyl dihydrojasmonate],
which more than 50 years ago transformed and disrupted the
world of perfumery.
P&F: How does this agreement benefit both companies?
Firmenich: All such agreements are based on creating mutual
value. As mentioned, for Firmenich it enables us to leverage
our leading biotechnology intellectual property as well as deep
client intimacy and market understanding to be the leaders in
renewable ingredients in the F&F industry.
Also, as said earlier, Firmenich’s heritage in science was traditionally based on synthetic chemistry. Now we are broadening
our technology and know-how by entering the field of synthetic
biology. Through our partnership with Amyris, we can accelerate the industrialization of this process.