National law firm Shoosmiths has advised the algal biotechnology company Algenuity Limited in the negotiation of a joint development agreement with Unilever in order to develop and market novel plant-based food ingredients based on the unicellular algae Chlorella vulgaris.
Chlorella vulgaris has been present on Earth since the Precambrian period 4.6 million years ago and although widely consumed as a dietary supplement, its use as an ingredient has been limited because of the strong colour, taste and smell associated with its high chlorophyll content. Algenuity has developed novel chlorophyll-deficient strains of Chlorella vulgaris under their Chlorella colours® brand. These ingredients are protein-rich, neutral flavour, micronutrient and fibre-rich, and contain natural pigments, as well as being non-GM, clean-label, vegan and free-from, satisfying many of the growing mega-trends in the food ingredients market. The partnership with Unilever will see Algenuity working with Unilever Food and Refreshments Division to refine their novel strains and formulate them into a range of Unilever’s food products.
Legal directors in Shoosmiths’ Business Advisory (IP) division Mark Kramer and Dr Lisa Page (who heads Shoosmiths’ pharmaceutical and life sciences IP practice) advised Algenuity on the deal.
“It has been a pleasure working on this agreement and it is clear that there are huge benefits to be had from its success. Our client’s world-leading expertise promises to change the way algae are used in the food and beverage industries and potentially open doors to other markets including cosmetics, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.”
“Algenuity is just at the start of developing the potential benefits of its novel strains of Chlorella vulgaris as an ingredient with this agreement with Unilever. It is an exciting prospect to see Algenuity’s technology working with Unilever’s innovative food programme to develop new applications for protein-rich, whole plant cell-based ingredients which are sustainable, natural, gluten free and non-GM.”
Andrew Spicer, CEO, Algenuity commented:
“It’s been a real pleasure working with Mark and Lisa and team at Shoosmiths. Not only have they quickly got up to speed with the technology aspects of what we are about at Algenuity, but they have combined that with market value awareness and deep legal insight as well as their astute and professional ability to get quickly to the core aspects of our legal agreements in order to progress them to a successful conclusion”.