March 6/Reinach, Switzerland/Press Release -- Evolva Holding SA entered into an agreement with Cargill to jointly develop and commercialize fermentation-derived steviol glycosides. Cargill will be responsible for commercialization and has agreed to make a CHF 5 million (approximately USD 5.3 million) equity investment in Evolva. Additionally, Evolva stands to receive up to USD 7.5 million in milestone payments and has the right to a 45% participation in the final business. If Evolva decides not to exercise this option it will receive royalty payments from global sales of the co-developed steviol glycoside products; these royalties will scale from mid-single digit to low double-digit percentages as a function of sales volume and other parameters.

Cargill brings to the collaboration its vast manufacturing and commercial expertise in bulk sweeteners, food ingredients, and of course stevia sweeteners. Cargill is a global market leader in the stevia-based sweetener category with consumer products and as an ingredient, which can be found in a variety of branded food products and beverages sold in the U.S., Europe, Mexico, and South America.

Evolva is a pioneer and global leader in sustainable, fermentation-based approaches to ingredients for health, wellness and nutrition, such as stevia, vanilla, saffron and resveratrol, as well as high-value ingredients for the OTC personal care and pharmaceuticals markets.

Stevia (stevia rebaudiana) is grown, harvested and used as a sweetener in many countries around the globe. Its sweet leaves have been consumed for generations. Today, extracts purified from these leaves are used to sweeten a range of zero- and reduced-calorie food and beverage products. Stevia leaves contain a number of individual molecules (known as steviol glycosides) that give them their sweet taste. The only commercially available steviol glycosides available today are derived from stevia plants grown and harvested in an agriculture setting. Evolva believes it is the first company to successfully adapt fermentation technology to produce a range of commercially relevant steviol glycosides, using sustainable, low-cost, carbohydrate feedstocks, which can be sourced virtually anywhere on the planet.  

Fermentation-derived steviol glycosides will benefit food and beverage manufacturers in a number of ways:

• First, it will allow better tasting steviol-glycoside-based products (the best-tasting stevia leaf molecules are not currently commercially available due to their very low concentrations in the plant).
• Second, it will allow steviol glycosides to become a more economic product for companies and consumers alike.
• Finally, it will allow steviol glycosides to be produced using a simplified and scalable supply chain.

Evolva and Cargill believe that fermentation-derived steviol glycosides have the potential to unlock more value from this remarkable sweetener.

Cargill VP and Global Business director for Health Ingredients David Henstrom remarked, “We are very excited about and fully committed to supporting fermentation-based steviol glycoside technology to provide our customers with a wider array of great-tasting options. What’s more, Evolva has proven capabilities to enable this breakthrough in a sustainable way.”

Evolva CEO Neil Goldsmith commented, “Cargill is the perfect partner for Evolva to advance the development, scale-up, and commercialization of fermentation-derived steviol glycosides, not least because they are a global industry leader in the stevia business and a powerhouse in food ingredient production. They are fundamentally changing the sweetener category around the world with their stevia-based sweetener products. We view this collaboration as further evidence that industry has recognized that Evolva’s technology platform represents a uniquely powerful foundation for producing sustainable, next-generation, high-value health, nutrition, and wellness products.”