01/12/2005 - 12:10

pSivida confirms new food technology spin off

01/12/2005 - 12:10


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Perth biotechnology company pSivida has confirmed the creation of a new spin off, pSiNutria Ltd, a company it will seed with $1.5 million to focus on techology applying to the food industry.

Perth biotechnology company pSivida has confirmed the creation of a new spin off, pSiNutria Ltd, a company it will seed with $1.5 million to focus on techology applying to the food industry.

pSiNutria will also be funded initially by pSivida, which has a market capitalisation of around $140 million, and will be licensed to use BioSilicon in the food sector, in areas such as traceability and quality control.

pSivida CEO Gavin Rezos said pSivida could seek a trade sale or float of pSiNutria within two years.

As reported this week in WA Business News, pSivida's first spin-out company, AION Diagnostics, is about to enter the next phase of its development by raising venture capital in the US.

pSivida is also looking to recruit a new US-based chief executive, who will run the company from Boston, within the next 12 months. These changes follow the company's recently agreed $140 million merger with private US drug delivery company, Control Delivery Systems.



Below is the official announcement:

pSivida launches pSiNutria in the Food Industry

Applications in food quality, safety, authentication and detection of bio terrorism

Global bio-nanotech company pSivida Limited (ASX:PSD, NASDAQ:PSDV, Xetra:PSI) is pleased to announce that it has created a new spinout company, pSiNutria Limited to develop applications of our silicon technology in the food industry.
pSivida will seed fund pSiNutria USD$1.1m (AUD$1.5m) as well as grant pSiNutria a royalty bearing exclusive license for the use of BioSilicon TM as an ingestible ingredient in food applications.

  • pSiNutria is also developing patentable intellectual property using silicon in the food packaging area.
  • pSiNutria will subsequently seek its own public listing or trade sale.
  • pSivida shareholders would receive pSiNutria shares in any future public listing.
  • pSivida will use analysis from Lux Research Inc the world's leading nanotechnology research and advisory firm, to help develop the pSiNutria strategy.

In its report "Sizing Nanotechnology's Value Chain", Lux Research forecasts $31 billion in nano-enabled products sales in 2005, in applications ranging from semiconductors to medical devices to food packaging.
Lux also notes that food industry giants like Kraft, Altria, and Unilever are pursuing nanotechnology applications, underscoring this market's promise.
BioSilicon TM applications in food primarily pertain to its biodegradability and optical properties.
BioSilicon TM dissolves into silicic acid which is found in everyday foods such as beer, wine, rice and cereals.
Potential pSiNutria products being developed includes; products to detect pathogens in food, for food tracing, for food preservation, and includes products to detect variations of temperature in food storage.
These products may include ingestible BioSilicon TM which will dissolve into silicic acid in the body or silicon used in modified atmosphere packaging.
pSivida will prioritise potential products according to value, time to market and technical barriers as well as collaborate with potential marketing and development partners within the global food industry.
There is the potential to have products on the market within a relatively short time frame given the different regulatory environment to therapeutic products.
Greater attention is being focused in the food industry on the quality and origin of food, particularly with concerns from bio terrorism where food sources may be deliberately contaminated.
The ability to detect pathogens, deliberate contamination or spoiling of food has enormous commercial value.
The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) estimates of the costs of illness and premature death from the top five food borne pathogens at $6.9 billion in the US alone.
US and EU regulators are looking to smart packaging that sense and even prevent disease-causing microbes and viruses.
Additionally, food companies are seeking to improve the quality of food, in particular the shelf life, traceability and nutrition, whilst maintaining taste with less salt, sugar, fat and preservatives utilising innovative technologies such as those being employed by pSiNutria.
The market for these so-called functional foods is estimated to be about $100 billion today a fraction of the $3 trillion global food market, but with categories growing at 15-40% annually.
"pSiNutria is an important part of realising the value in the BioSilicon TM platform technology," pSvida CEO Gavin Rezos said.
"The food industry is a very different business from drug delivery and, like AION Diagnostics our other spinout subsidiary, it will be separately staffed with new appointments from the food industry, whilst pSivida maintains its core focus on the drug delivery market."
An update on progress made by our other spin out subsidiary, AION Diagnostics, will be made in the near future.




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