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GLG granted Stevia patent in China

By Ankush Chibber , 20-Jul-2011

A fully owned subsidiary of GLG Life Tech Corp has been granted a patent in China for its stevia extraction process.

Vancouver, Canada-based GLG Life Tech is currently engaged in the agricultural and commercial development of high quality stevia and natural and zero calorie food and beverage products.

According to a statement issued by the company, its patent application was submitted in 2008 by Qingdao Runde Biotechnology Company Ltd to the State Intellectual Property Bureau of China.

Under an order passed by the bureau, the Company’s refining method for the extraction of high-purity Stevioside (STV) has now been granted full patent protection in China.

The company claims that its unique extraction method is an innovative technology that is scalable, allowing the company to produce high volumes of greater than 80 per cent high-purity STV.

According to Sophia Luke, vice president of investor relations at GLG, the company has been in discussions with the China Sugar Reserve (CSR) since 2010 to help address China’s current shortfall in domestic sugar production.

“We are looking to present a stevia-sugar blend to the CSR for a low-calorie solution that is healthier and less cane sugar-intensive. This stevia-sugar low-calorie product will have only one-third the calories of regular sugar,” she said.

According to Luke, GLG expects that the development of this opportunity will take a few years to realize the full potential. It is expected to be a multi-phase development program, with phase one expected to start in 2011.

Luke said that GLG's technology portfolio not only encompasses the extraction and refining processes, but also proprietary seeds that will produce higher rebaudioside A content and generate more leaf per area planted.

“The patent approval is a key step in allowing GLG to produce the high volumes of high-purity STV necessary to meet the high product specifications and volumes required for the CSR’s low-calorie sugar product,” she added.

Luke said that the additions of the CSR phase one demand and GLG's new AN0C consumer food and beverage joint venture business to GLG's existing China sales, would see the company's share of revenue from China reach 75 per cent.

Last year, GLG had inked an agreement with the China and Healthy Foods Company Ltd (CAHFC) to form ANOC; a joint venture company in which the former will hold 80 per cent while the latter will hold 20 per cent.

ANOC will focus on the sale and distribution of all natural and zero-calorie beverage and food products in China that are sweetened with GLG stevia extracts, GLG has said previously.

According to Luke, GLG's China experience has enabled it to reach out to our partners in other markets, including India, to pursue similar opportunities.

“We have signed supply agreements with leading sugar and food ingredient companies around the world. We expect to increase our consolidated revenue from less than US$60m last year to US$160m to US$200m in 2011,” she said.

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