New Senomyx sucrose enhancer could help firms slash sugar by 50 percent

A novel sucrose enhancer that could help firms slash sugar in products by up to 50 percent is now in development phase at San-Diego-based flavour innovator, Senomyx.

The ingredient, dubbed S9632, complements Senomyx’s other sucrose enhancer S6973, which flavours giant Firmenich has now started to supply to customers, said chief executive Kent Snyder.

“Taste tests have demonstrated S9632 can enable reduction of up to 50% of the sugar in product prototypes without compromising taste. The development phase includes safety studies and other activities intended to support regulatory filings in the US and elsewhere.

“S9632 also possesses advantageous physical properties that are beneficial for a broad range of beverages and foods, and its expected utilization should be very complementary to S6973.”

Reducing the quantity of sucrose in products could be advantageous for consumers seeking to limit sugar in their diets and for manufacturers who would like to offer products with improved nutritional profiles without compromising on taste. Senomyx received a GRAS designation for S6973 in October 2009. The GRAS designation allows usage of S6973 in baked goods, cereals, gum, condiments and relishes, confectioneries and frostings, frozen dairy offerings, fruit ices, gelatins and puddings, hard and soft candy, jams and jellies, milk products, and sauces.

Firmenich SA has exclusive rights to commercialize S6973 worldwide in virtually all food product categories, as well as specific beverage applications and over-the-counter pharmaceutical products.

Firmenich was also supplying Senomyx’s S2383 to several customers, which could enable them to reduce sucralose by up to 75% without any loss of sweetness, revealed Snyder. It has exclusive rights to market S2383 globally for all food and beverage categories, either as a stand-alone ingredient or as part of a flavour system.

Nestle, meanwhile, has incorporated Senomyx’s savoury flavours, used to replace monosodium glutamate, into a range of new products during the quarter, he said.

On the R&D front, work on developing natural plant-derived high-potency sweeteners, salt enhancers and substances that could cool the mouth “much more effectively” than menthol, WS-3, and other cooling agents, was also progressing well, he added.

Building on work by scientists who have successfully cloned human taste receptors for sweet, bitter and umami tastes, Senomyx uses high-throughput biological screening techniques to evaluate millions of molecules to identify which substances bind to specific taste receptors.

Any substance that binds and activates sweet taste receptors, for example, will send a signal to the brain that we are eating something sweet, whether it is actually sweet or not.

Senomyx posted a $3.2m net loss (compared with a $4.7m loss for the same period last year) on sales up 22.8% to $7m in the three months to June 30