Evolva Holding SA has completed the placing of all shares earmarked to satisfy certain liabilities and transaction expenses related to the Allylix acquisition, a privately held yeast fermentation company with a focus on high-value ingredients, as announced on 16 December 2014. A total of 6.1 million shares were sold between 16 and 19 December. One Swiss investment fund acquired a block of five million shares. The transaction has no impact on the number of outstanding Evolva shares.
Jakob Dynnes Hansen, Evolva CFO, commented, “This placing went faster than we had expected and is a vote of confidence from the investment community.” Evolva is a pioneer and global leader in sustainable, fermentation-based approaches to ingredients for health, wellness and nutrition. Its products include stevia, vanilla, saffron and resveratrol.
The acquisition of Allylix will immediately expand Evolva’s product and IP portfolio and enhance the competitiveness of Evolva’s stevia products. Evolva acquires Allylix in return for an overall consideration of 46 million newly-issued Evolva shares. Cargill (Evolva’s partner on its stevia program) has invested USD 4 million in Evolva shares in support of the transaction.
According to the Swiss company, the key benefits for Evolva shareholders are relevant. Evolva gains know-how and issued patents that enhance Evolva’s proprietary position and substantially improve stevia manufacturing efficiencies. Evolva’s next-generation stevia ingredients, which include Reb D, Reb M and other steviol glycosides, will significantly improve the taste, affordability, supply-chain integrity, and environmental footprint of this sought-after zero-calorie sweetener.
Like Evolva, Allylix has a pipeline of high-value ingredients made by brewing, with commercial applications in flavours, fragrances, cosmetics, food protection, household products and other industrial markets. For example, Allylix is developing a brewed version of sandalwood oil, a highly sought-after fragrance that is now in short supply because its natural source (the tropical sandalwood tree) has largely disappeared due to overharvesting and illegal logging.
Allylix’s technologies, strain development capabilities and fermentation know-how will enable Evolva to accelerate the development of its own products, particularly terpenes such as saffron and agarwood. Evolva has around 330 patents and applications across 70 patent families, with around 120 granted. Allylix will add a further 160 patents and applications across 25 patent families, with more than 100 granted.
Both Evolva and Allylix are focused entirely on yeast, and its use to make valuable, sustainable, functional ingredients for health, wellness and nutrition. In consequence there are synergies in molecular biology, analytical chemistry, production, application development, regulatory, business development, marketing and sales. Evolva will conduct a review and potential realignment of its R&D portfolio as a result of the transaction. This is expected to complete in Q1 2015.
Evolva Ceo, Neil Goldsmith said, “Allylix has developed a product line that is uniquely complementary to Evolva’s, starting with nootkatone and valencene. Furthermore, its technical expertise and IP suite will give us additional competitive advantages in the global stevia market. Since both companies are focused on the production and sale of high value ingredients made from yeast, there are significant synergies at all stages of R&D, manufacturing and marketing. The combination creates a true powerhouse in yeast based fermentation technologies.”
Carolyn Fritz, Allylix’s Ceo added, “Since our founding in 2004, Allylix has established a world-class R&D team in yeast metabolic engineering, scaled our processes to full industrial production, and commercialised two products. We have built a leading patent position on producing terpenes by fermentation, which has attracted interest from leading stevia players. We see Evolva and their partner Cargill as the best placed to achieve significant commercial success in fermentation-derived stevia.”