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A novel cost-effective process to produce prebiotics from by-products of the ethanol industry

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BioAXOS (A novel cost-effective process to produce prebiotics from by-products of the ethanol industry)

Reporting period: 2016-12-01 to 2017-05-31

While there is a growing interest in the use of prebiotics to stimulate the growth of probiotic bacteria found in our gastrointestinal tract and on our skin, the current generation of prebiotics have underperformed with regards to length of fermentation time and the production of key short chain fatty acids. Moreover, while the advent of newer prebiotics has provided some performance improvements, increased costs have prevented widespread adoption across food, nutraceutical, personal care and feed applications. There is thus a clear demand for an effective prebiotic that can be manufactured at a cost in line with the current generation of prebiotics. BioAXOS, a prebiotic derived from a side-stream from the ethanol industry and developed by Carbiotix of Sweden, represents one high potential prebiotic able to fulfil both requirements.

The objectives of the feasibility study were to validate the product/market fit of BioAXOS with potential partners and customers, determine a suitable business model, and ensure the scalability of this business model going forward. To fulfil these objectives, three main tasks were carried out: 1) validate the commercial/market feasibility of BioAXOS and its production process, 2) validate the economic feasibility of BioAXOS and its production process, and 3) validate the technical feasibility of BioAXOS and its production process.
Although the feasibility study was officially carried out between December 2016 and May 2017, study activities stretched from September 2016 (date of application submission) to June 2017. During this period, Carbiotix not only managed to fulfil all the tasks of the feasibility study, but also formed a joint venture company with one of Europe’s largest ethanol producers to bring BioAXOS to market.

At the outset of the feasibility study, Carbiotix had the ambition of assessing the interest of the top ethanol producers and prebiotic distributers/customers in Europe. This ambition was quickly reshaped by a strong interest from one of Europe’s largest ethanol producers. Accelerated due diligence activities through an independent third party laboratory and processing engineering consultant, a thorough examination of the market, IP and commercial risks, as well as onsite pilot trials at a full-scale production site, resulted in a decision to form a joint venture company to commercialise the BioAXOS technology.

The feasibility study confirmed earlier assumptions that there would be significant interest in the BioAXOS technology among ethanol producers and that it could be brought to market at a highly competitive price point. Moreover, that the BioAXOS technology could be efficiently and cost effectively scaled up, while related commercial and technical risks could be adequately managed, if the technology was placed in the right constellation of partners.
The project will result in an accelerated market introduction of BioAXOS. This will have an impact of providing an effective and affordable prebiotic that may be used across feed, food, nutraceutical, and personal care applications. While the potential health benefits of BioAXOS still need to be investigated and confirmed through clinical studies, research into similar prebiotics and validation activities during the project suggest that BioAXOS will have a positive impact on the health of adults.