Roquette Ventures invests in AP Technologies to develop HMOs for infant nutrition

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / Tom Merton
© Getty Images / Tom Merton

Related tags: HMO

Nutrition innovation investors, Roquette Ventures, have signed an agreement with bio-venture company, Advanced Protein Technologies, to produce new human breast milk components for food, nutrition and health markets.

Nutrition company Roquette, which has manufacturing operations in Brazil, will pair its venture investment arm with the protein manufacturing firm, Advanced Protein Technologies (AP Technologies). Together, the two companies will explore and progress understanding and capabilities of human breast milk nutritional components.

Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs), which can only be found in human milk, are cognitive and immune-activating ingredients. Protein manufacturing technology specialists, AP Technologies, licensed the use of HMO production technology from Seoul National University in Korea, in 2016. Now, upon signing their agreement, AP Technologies and Roquette Ventures will collaborate to further explore and evolve HMOs.

Improving infant and child nutrition with HMOs

Speaking with NutraIngredients-LATAM, Edouard Nuttin, General Manager of Roquette Ventures, explained: “HMOs are sugars found in breast milk that feed healthy bacteria in the child’s intestines as their gut microbiome.”

Contrary to other available oligosaccharides, HMOs are only found in human breast milk.  “With great growth potential for these markets”, ​HMOs make up to 8% of the human milk and have more than 200 different structure types, resulting in a market potential forecast of $2 billion per year.

Research predictions indicate that in the coming years, HMOs will feature as a key area in infant and child nutrition. “Researchers demonstrate that they prevent infection and stimulate the immune system in a positive way,” ​highlighted Nuttin.

As consumers seek out their associated health benefits, leading global food manufacturers and brands have started introducing HMOs into their child nutrition ranges, including infant formula and baby food. HMOs are directly linked to newborn baby brain and immune system development, prebiotics effect that support and enhance intestinal probiotics, and the excretion effect of harmful bacteria.

HMOs are going to be utilized to support consumers’ diets and nutrition through applying the cognitive and immune-activating ingredients to the food and pharmaceutical sectors. Using HMOs in this way will “bring direct health benefits including brain and immune system development of newborn babies, prebiotics effect that nurtures beneficial intestinal probiotics”​, added Roquette.

Pioneering nutritional investment

Through its collaboration, Chul Soo, Shin, CEO of AP Technologies, emphasized that AP Technologies will be able to supply “a highly-functional food ingredient while reducing the reliance on imports of these important ingredients”​.

In describing the investment as an “important collaboration for us”​, Edouard Nuttin, General Manager of Roquette Ventures, revealed that the newly signed agreement marks an evolved phase in the long-term strategic partnership between Roquette and AP Technologies.

Commenting on its “strong desire to support pioneering innovations for food, nutrition and health markets and to contribute to accelerating their development,” ​Nuttin explained that pursuing innovation is a key driver, which influenced its investment in AP Technologies. 

The Korean organization is looking beyond its domestic marketplace and Soo added that by “collaborating with Roquette Ventures, we will expand to export our product internationally and step up to earn a place as a global natural-based food leader in the long run”.

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