BRAIN AG has been granted patent protection by the European Patent Office (EPO) for novel taste cell technologies (EP 2841565 B1 | Human taste cells capable of continuous proliferation). Thus, BRAIN AG holds the right to use the highly innovative screening technologies for novel natural taste modulators described in the patent in the notable markets of Europe and the United States. The European patent was granted and published on February 21, 2018. The corresponding patent for the US was already granted in August 2016.
Thanks to cell models which are based on human tongue cells and cultivated in vitro, researchers at BRAIN are now able to identify new ingredients for the formulation of low-calorie foods with a lower content of sugar, salt or fat at an early stage of the substance selection process. The technology allows for a qualitatively reliable and considerably faster sampling of natural substances than with test subjects in a sensory panel. In addition, the method results in a substantially higher throughput, and the selection step can be taken without submitting the natural substances to tolerability testing beforehand. The low material requirements also mean that it is possible to screen the smallest amounts of natural substances.
Says Dr Jürgen Eck, CEO of BRAIN AG: “We already have successfully applied our technology in strategic industrial partnerships such as the DOLCE programme dedicated to the development of natural sugar substitutes and sweet taste enhancers. The expanded patent protection is an important step for the development and marketing of our offers of healthier foods to various partners from the food and beverages industry“.
The BRAIN group’s research and development activities in the “Bioactive Compounds” product category are, among other things, aimed at providing new natural ingredients for healthier foods that do not entail any loss of quality regarding sense of taste or eating experience. Therefore, BRAIN researchers not only focus on sugar substitutes, but also devote themselves to reducing the amount of salt and fat in food, the excessive consumption of which also harbours health risks. In addition, their activities are addressed at attenuating and concealing the off-taste of calorie- or salt-reduced products which often occurs as an undesired side effect when food formulations are altered.
Within the framework of the “Natural Life Excellence Network 2020” strategic innovation alliance (NatLifE 2020), which is co-ordinated by BRAIN and supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), BRAIN and Martin Luther University at Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) researched the link between sugar consumption and the prevalence of dental decay, parodontitis and the loss of teeth last year. The study shows that globally accrued dental treatment costs due to excessive sugar consumption amount to USD 172 billion annually.
Accordingly, initiatives such as NatLifE 2020 have been created at a political level in order to support the development and production of healthier foods. Other countries already have introduced levies on high-caloric products or on foods with a high salt content. Most recently, the UK government announced plans to establish a “sugar tax” at some point in 2018. Against this backdrop, it can be assumed that demand for healthier foods and natural ingredients which improve the flavour profile of foods will increase further.
This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements reflect the current views, expectations, and assumptions of the management of BRAIN AG and are based on information currently available to the management. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. There are numerous factors which could influence the future performance by and future developments at BRAIN AG and the BRAIN group of companies. Such factors include, but are not limited to, changes in the general economic and competitive environment, risks associated with capital markets, currency exchange rate fluctuations, changes in international and national laws and regulations, in particular with respect to tax laws and regulations, and other factors. BRAIN AG does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements.