(Corrects headline and paragraphs 1 and 2 in March 11 story to
say the company, not the FDA, determined the product to be safe.
Also corrects paragraph 7 to remove reference to GRAS compliance
being dependent on FDA testing)
March 11 Senomyx Inc said its Sweetmyx
food flavoring was determined to be safe, paving the way for
customers such as PepsiCo Inc to add it in drinks to
reduce the use of sugar or sugar substitutes.
Senomyx shares jumped as much as 24 percent to their highest
in nearly seven years after the company designated Sweetmyx
Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) under the Federal Food, Drug
and Cosmetic Act.
"The new Sweetmyx flavor ingredient will enable the creation
of lower-calorie beverages and foods that have reduced
sweeteners without sacrificing taste," Chief Executive Officer
John Poyhonen said on Tuesday.
Sweetmyx works by enhancing the characteristics of other
flavors such as sucrose or fructose, allowing for reduced use of
sweeteners in drinks.
Sugar-sweetened drinks are a significant source of extra
calories in the average American's diet and are closely linked
with weight gain, which often leads to illnesses such as
diabetes and heart disease.
PepsiCo has exclusive rights to use Sweetmyx worldwide in
all non-alcoholic beverages. Geneva, Switzerland-based Firmenich
has lifetime rights to commercialize the flavor for food product
categories and alcoholic beverages.
In the United States, food flavors are considered either a
food additive or GRAS-compliant.
Companies can declare their ingredients GRAS-compliant based
on their own research or that of hired consultants. But the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration has the option to challenge such
Senomyx shares were up 15 percent at $10.81 in morning
trading on the Nasdaq. They have risen more than 240 percent in
the past year. PepsiCo shares were up 1 percent.
(Reporting by Aditi Shrivastava and Natalie Grover in
Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)