Human milk oligosaccharides – unique complex carbohydrates found in mother’s milk
DuPont Nutrition & Health (DuPont) has announced a joint development and licensing agreement for exclusive rights to selected fucosylated human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), including 2’-fucosyllactose, with Inbiose, a Belgium-based producer of specialty carbohydrates.
'This partnership is part of a new era in ingredients targeted for infant nutrition,' said John Rea, Global Business Unit Leader for Probiotics, Cultures, Food Protection and HMOs.
'With this development, we’re working toward fulfilling our corporate mission to help solve the world’s food challenges by providing innovative ingredients our customers can use to make healthy and nutritious products. Our investment here complements the broad capabilities DuPont has built in probiotics and understanding the human gut microbiome, as well as our technologies already targeting this area.'
HMOs are a group of unique oligosaccharides found in mother’s milk, with 2’-fucosyllactose being the single most abundant HMO. This new partnership combines Inbiose’s innovative production platform for specialty carbohydrates with DuPont’s capabilities in industrial-scale fermentation, regulatory and health science expertise, as well as global market access.
The partnership is currently focusing on developing the ingredients for market introduction by implementing an industrial-scale fermentation process and submission for regulatory approvals to enter the market in 2017.
'We are excited to collaborate with Inbiose and bring the science of HMOs to market,' said Martin Kullen, Global R&D Leader for Probiotics, Cultures, Food Protection and HMOs. 'HMOs are key in helping our customers move another step closer to matching the composition of human milk with their infant nutrition products.'
HMOs have been identified as important components of human milk that help shape an infant’s gut microbiome and a balanced immune system development. A growing body of evidence suggests that HMOs benefit the health of developing infants by supporting digestive, immune and cognitive development.
'Our collaboration with DuPont, a world-renown ingredient manufacturer, advances our technology and will accelerate the introduction of our first HMO to improve the health and well-being of infants,' said Prof. Wim Soetaert, Executive Chairman of Inbiose.
Digestive/gut health was the primary claim associated with infant formula launches in 2015, according to market research firm Innova. It was featured on 58% of all launches in the market. During the past 5 years, the use of prebiotics in infant formulas has dramatically increased.
'HMOs are found naturally in mother’s milk and represent the next generation of functional oligosaccharides. The inclusion of HMOs will be a significant advancement in the improvement of infant formula,' said Kullen. 'With our experience delivering products to the strict safety and efficacy standards required for the infant formula segment, DuPont will be at the forefront of commercialising HMOs.'
Inbiose is a Belgium-based company that has developed a proprietary production platform for the industrial production of specialty carbohydrates. HMOs are important targets for Inbiose and the market launch of 2’-fucosyllactose represents a key milestone for the company. Inbiose is currently developing new processes for other HMOs and specialty carbohydrates.