What’s the deal with Lactose free yogurt in Denmark?

novozymes lactase saphera lactose free yogurt

Novozymes, the European leader for Industrial Biotech, has had a good start to 2016. It has now launched some new ideas, including for lactose-free food products. 

novozymes_saphera_lactase_financial_2016q1Novozymes is a giant in the production of enzymes, an important player in the ‘traditional Biotech’ biocatalysis revolution and a cornerstone in the Danish Biotech scene.

The company has now released its financial results for the first three months of 2016: Organic sales increased by 2% and net profit by 5%. Not bad.

This growth was mostly led by the household care (detergents etc.) sector, as well as for ‘technical & pharma’, the sales of which increased by 37%. Novozymes has also generally invested over €18M (139M DKK) – although this is a bit down from 2015.

Novozymes’ distribution of sales by sector (left) and by geography, including organic growth (right). (Source: Novozymes)

Novozymes’ latest projects include the development of veterinary probiotics, a partnership with famous agriculture company Monsanto to discover farming-friendly microbes and a Biopharma spin-off to produce recombinant albumin.

Most recently, it also announced a new lactase product, which targets the growing market for lactose-free food products. These include emerging markets (such as Asia), where lactose intolerance is more prevalent.

Lactose intolerance is due to downregulated or deficient expression of lactase in the gut, leading to lactose accumulation in the gut. (Source: buecherbeutel.com)

This new product (Saphera) is a lactase from Bifidobacterium bifidum that can withstand lower pH and higher temperatures. So, it can be used to produce not only lactose-free milk, but also fermented (and acidic) foods like yogurt.

Making lactose-free yogurt was also a challenge because traditional lactases (produced by yeast) had some invertase activity, so they modified the sugars in sweetened products – and therefore the taste. Saphera solves these problems.

Novozymes dropped its value by almost 18% in the last 6 months, with a big dip just in January – probably suffering from the Biotech financial storm.

Evolution of Novozymes’ stock price in the last year. Price reference is in DKK; current stock price is around €40, market cap €10Bn. (Source: Google Finance)

However, as financial reports highlighted, the markets may be nervous but Biotechs are well-stocked and going strong. Novozymes had a net profit growth of 2% in 2015, and expects to increase it by 8-10% in 2016.

So, one of the European commercial leaders in Biotech seems to be doing quite well – despite stock market antics. 

Novozymes’ explains its products for a better food industry…

Explore other topics: DenmarkNovozymesSynthetic biology

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