Evolva and Cargill will produce and commercialize EverSweet, the next-generation stevia sweetener, which is on track for a 2018 launch.
The stevia sweetener solves both the stevia taste and Reb M & Reb D scaleability challenges.
It is brewed to produce large quantities of the most sought-after sweetness ingredients found in the stevia leaf, Reb M and Reb D.
The stevia leaf contains only minute quantities of these ingredients.
It also delivers better sweetness intensity, faster sweetness onset and improved sweetness quality – without the bitterness or off-note aftertaste common to existing stevia sweeteners.
Evolva estimates the total addressable market to be worth around US$4 billion.
The company will receive up to 30% of the EverSweet business, determined as a function of the strain efficiencies achieved.
While Evolva can ask Cargill to support some of Evolva’s early cashflow commitments at a favorable interest rate, under the new agreement Evolva will not receive any further milestone payments from Cargill.
The sweetener will initially be produced at a fermentation facility on Cargill’s Blair, Nebraska campus that will be retrofitted for this purpose.
The facility will be operated by Cargill and additionally be used for the fermentation of other Evolva products.
In parallel, Evolva will build and operate a new bioprocessing facility on adjacent land leased from Cargill.
This bioprocessing facility will manufacture Evolva products such as nootkatone and resveratrol and is expected to come online in 2019.
Together, this integrated infrastructure will provide Evolva with a global hub for the production of high value specialty ingredients.
Over the next three years, principally in 2018 and 2019, Evolva expects to invest an estimated US$60 million in the combined fermentation and bioprocessing facilities for EverSweet and its other products.