Tokyo based Kaneka Corporation acquired a 34.8% share of AB-Biotics (ABB), a Barcelona based biotech company focusing on research, development, and distribution of its own products using lactic acid bacteria. Kaneka has also established a license agreement with AB-Biotics to grant Kaneka exclusive rights for production and sales of ABB’s products in North America and Japan. Kaneka hopes to accomplish Yen 10 billion sales in 2022 with the development of new products in the fast-growing market.

“Kaneka will apply our expertise in fermentation and sales of specialty nutrients to the newly formed  Probiotic Division to provide unique, innovative solutions in the probiotics market. We look forward to collaborating with customers to help them create products that will differentiate their probiotics with our clinical strains,” says Kazuhiko Fujii, President of Kaneka Americas Holding.

ABB has advanced R&D capabilities as well as existing portfolio of 550 proprietary probiotic strains extracted from human origin samples. Kaneka itself has been expanding its functional food business globally with products such as Coenzyme Q10 (Kaneka QH™), polyphenol derived from licorice (Kaneka Glavonoid™) and plant-derived lactic acid bacillus. The firm has also started a dairy products business, such as milk, butter and yoghurt in Japan under technical cooperation with Pur Natur Invest BVBA (Kruishoutem, Belgium, President: Marc Verhamme).

This investment and licensing agreement reflects an expanding market for food products using lactic acid bacteria in North America that has exceeded $2 million, according to the company’s press release, and demand in Japan for yogurt, drinks and dietary supplements containing lactic acid bacteria.