Solazyme, Roquette in JV

November 11/Health & Beauty Close-Up -- Solazyme Inc. and Roquette Freres have signed a joint venture (JV) agreement for the production, commercialization and market development of microalgae-derived food ingredients, subject to regulatory approvals and notifications.

The JV is being formed to launch an entirely new category of natural, healthy and functional ingredients based on microalgae that provide nutritional properties along with outstanding taste and texture, according to the companies. Solazyme-Roquette Nutritionals plans to launch a variety of oil, protein and fiber based products aimed at delivering improved performance.

The JV, which will be 50% owned by each parent company, will be named Solazyme-Roquette Nutritionals and will be operational by the beginning of 2011. The JV's management team and board of directors will be drawn from both parent companies with Solazyme's CEO, Jonathan Wolfson serving as the initial CEO of the JV. Roquette will fund and build a JV-owned, commercial-scale manufacturing plant with capacity in the tens of thousands of tons of annual production, sited at a Roquette corn wet mill. In addition, Roquette will provide upfront licensing payments to Solazyme and working capital to fund the JV until reaching profitability.

This JV combines Roquette's history and capabilities as a global food ingredient supplier with Solazyme's microalgae-based technology, the companies noted. Like Solazyme, Roquette has been actively developing a microalgal nutritional platform and runs the ALGOHUB program while currently selling algae-based nutritional products. Roquette also possesses global manufacturing assets and access to carbohydrate feedstock in multiple geographies through its network of mills. In addition, the JV will leverage Roquette's global nutritional sales force to stimulate market entry and provide access to food companies worldwide.

"Roquette is a family-owned company with outstanding values which create the basis for a long-term relationship with Solazyme. Beyond that, Roquette provides a total package including feedstock, manufacturing and applications expertise, and robust sales, marketing and customer relationships," says Jonathan Wolfson, CEO and co-founder of Solazyme. "Combined with Solazyme's technology, the joint venture is extremely well-equipped to commercialize revolutionary natural products into the food industry that provide all of the performance benefits consumers have come to expect, while providing the improved nutritional profiles they deserve."

"Solazyme and Roquette share a very clearly-defined vision that microalgae will provide a major new class of food ingredients, and we enter this JV very enthusiastic about the future," says Guy Talbourdet, CEO of Roquette. Marc Roquette, chairman of Roquette continued, "We believe that along with Roquette, Solazyme possesses the most innovative microalgal food ingredient technology in the world, and we look forward to using our extensive skills and assets to help bring this technology to market."

From the November 22, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition