New HMOs: Roquette Ventures invests in Korean firm AP Technologies

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) are complex sugars present in human milk. ©Getty Images
Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) are complex sugars present in human milk. ©Getty Images

Related tags Korea Roquette HMO

Roquette Ventures has invested in South Korea firm Advanced Protein Technologies (AP Technologies) to develop new human breast milk components.

Through the partnership, AP Technologies also hoped to bring the country’s expertise in human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) into the international stage.

“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," Chul Soo Shin, CEO of AP Technologies said.   

Next year, the firm is expected to carry out full-scale commercial production and global sales of its 2’-FL (2’-Fucosyllactose) ingredient.

It had earlier licensed the production technology of the ingredient from Seoul National University's professor Seo Jin Ho and his team in 2016.

The production is based on a technology using Corynebacterium glutamicum.

The firm has secured a patent for its HMO production technology patents in Korea and will also file for patent in the US, Europe, China, Japan and India.

It is researching on six other major HMOs, namely 3-FL (3-Fucosyllactose), LNT (Lacto-N-Tetraose), LNnT (Lactose-N-netetraose), LNFP (Lacto-N-FucoPentose), 3’-SL (3’-Sialic Lactose), and 6’-SL (6’-Sialic Lactose). 

More than 200 types of HMOs have been identified and 2’FL is the most abundant​ of the existing types.

Clinical studies​ have shown that HMO supplementation has led to fewer cases of bronchitis and respiratory tract infections in infants.

Prior to Roquette Ventures, the firm received its first investment from domestic venture capitals, such as KB Investment and Maple Venture Investment last year. With the funds, it built its HMO Campus in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province.

GRAS certification

AP Technologies is set to receive a number of local and international accreditation next year.

In Q1 of 2020, it is expected to receive the USA FDA’s General Recognised As Safe (GRAS) status.

It also expects to receive approvals from the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Meanwhile, it will continue to register its product in Asian countries, including China, Vietnam, Thailand, and India.

HMOs formula

Major infant formula brands have started to develop products with added HMOs.

One example is Nestle, which rolled out its NAN Supreme 3 infant formula containing 2’-FL across 44 markets since last May.

Another Nestle’s brand, Wyeth’s Nutritional’s line-up of Illuma infant formula, also contain 2’-FL.

On the other hand, ingredient supplier BASF earlier announced​ that its research grant would focus on HMOs for immunity and metabolic benefits.

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