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Team of International Scientists Identify Common Vulnerabilities Across SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-1 and MERS Coronaviruses

Structure Pic

Structure of SARS-CoV-2 Orf9b in complex with human Tom70. Teal: surface model of human Tom70; orange: ribbon model of SARS-CoV-2 Orf9b. Structure was determined by the QBI Coronavirus Research Group Structural Biology Consortium (QCRG SBC).

Driven by Molecular Insights, Massive Analysis of Medical Records from ~740,000 SARS-CoV-2 Patients Reveal Treatment Regimens for Current, and Potential Future, Viral Pandemics

Published Today in Science

Press Conference to be held today at 11:00 a.m. ET

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 15, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In a study published online in Science today, an international team of almost 200 researchers from 14 leading institutions in six countries studied the three lethal coronaviruses SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV in order to identify commonly hijacked cellular pathways and detect promising targets for broad coronavirus inhibition. In addition, using the molecular insights gained from this multidisciplinary, systematic study of coronaviruses, the group performed an analysis of medical records of approximately 740,000 patients with SARS-CoV-2 that altered clinical outcomes in these patients to uncover approved therapeutics with potential for rapid deployment. These results demonstrate how molecular information can be translated into real-world implications for the treatment of COVID-19, an approach that can ultimately be applied to other diseases in the future.

“This far-reaching international study elucidates for the first time commonalities and, importantly, vulnerabilities, across coronaviruses, including our current challenge with the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic,” said Nevan Krogan, Ph.D., director of the Quantitative Biosciences Institute (QBI) at the School of Pharmacy at UC San Francisco, senior investigator at Gladstone Institutes, and lead investigator of the study. “In unique and rapid fashion, we were able to bridge biological and functional insights with clinical outcomes, providing an exemplary model of a differentiated way to conduct research into any disease, rapidly identify promising treatments and advancing knowledge in the fields of both science and medicine. This body of work was only made possible through the collaborative efforts of senior scientific thought leaders and teams of next-generation researchers at premier institutions across the globe.”

Structure Pic 2

Structure of SARS-CoV-2 Orf9b in complex with human Tom70. Grey: Electron microscopy density of the Orf9b-Tom70 complex. Teal: surface model of human Tom70; orange: ribbon model of SARS-CoV-2 Orf9b. Structure was determined by the QBI Coronavirus Research Group Structural Biology Consortium (QCRG SBC).

In this collaboration, academic and private sector scientists from UCSF, QBI’s Coronavirus Research Group (QCRG), Gladstone Institutes, EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) in Cambridge, England, Georgia State University, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, Institut Pasteur in Paris, Cluster of Excellence CIBSS at the University of Freiburg in Germany, University of Sheffield in the UK, and other institutions as well as the companies Aetion, who makes software for analysis of real-world data and genome engineering company Synthego, participated in the research.

Scientific Revelations from a Cross-Coronavirus Study of Protein Function
Building on their previous work published in both Nature and Cell, the researchers studied SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV comprehensively, using biochemical, proteomic, genetic, structural, bioinformatic, virological and imaging approaches to identify conserved target proteins and cellular processes across coronaviruses. Leveraging the SARS-CoV-2 map of how the SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins interact with their target human host cell proteins, called an “interactome,” the team built the protein-protein interaction maps for SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV, highlighting several key cellular processes that are shared across all three coronaviruses. These common pathways and protein targets represent high-priority targets for therapeutic interventions for this and future pandemics.

“Working diligently since the early days of SARS-CoV-2 identification, we came together with the individual strengths of each organization to interrogate the biology and functional activities of these viruses, looking to exploit weaknesses,” commented Veronica Rezelj, Ph.D., of Institut Pasteur. “In our latest study, we augmented our knowledge base by driving down into two additional coronaviruses, elucidating mechanisms across viruses that allow potential therapeutic interventions.”

Structural Understanding of a Unique Interaction between viral Orf9b and Human Protein Tom70, Which Normally Supports Antiviral Immune Response
Interestingly, the team found that the mitochondrial outer membrane protein Tom70 interacts with both SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 protein Orf9b. Tom70 is normally involved in the activation of mitochondrial antiviral-signaling protein (MAVS) and is essential for an antiviral innate immune response. Orf9b, by binding to the substrate recognition site of Tom70, inhibits Tom70’s interaction with heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90), which is key for its function in the interferon pathway and induction of apoptosis upon virus infection.

In a collaboration among more than 60 scientists in the QCRG led by Klim Verba and Oren Rosenberg at QBI, the structure of Orf9b bound to the active site of Tom70 was determined by cryoelectron microscopy (cryoEM) to a remarkable three-angstrom resolution. A noteworthy and rare finding showed that Orf9b, when by itself, forms a dimer and structurally a beta sheet, but exists as an alpha helix when bound to Tom70. Using the structural image of the bound proteins, the scientists were able to discover that a key residue in the interaction with Hsp90 is moved out of position, suggesting that Orf9b may modulate key aspects of the immune response, interferon and apoptosis signaling via Tom70. The functional significance and regulation of the Orf9b-Tom70 interaction require further experimental elucidation. This interaction, however, which is conserved between SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2, could have value as a pan-coronavirus therapeutic target.

Pathway Targets for Potential Clinically-Approved Therapeutics
Using the three coronavirus interactomes as a guide, the team performed CRISPR and RNA interference (RNAi) knockouts of the putative host proteins of each virus and studied how loss of these proteins altered the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to infect human cells. They determined that 73 of the proteins studied were important for the replication of the virus and used this list to prioritize evaluation of drug candidates. Among these were the receptor for the inflammatory signaling molecule IL-17, which has been identified in numerous studies as an important indicator of disease severity; prostaglandin E synthase 2 (encoded by PTGES2), which functionally interacts with the Nsp7 protein in all three viruses; and sigma receptor 1, an interactor of Nsp6 from SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2, which the group previously showed was a promising drug target in the laboratory setting.

Armed with this knowledge, the group performed a retrospective analysis of medical billing data from approximately 740,000 people who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 or were presumptively positive.

In the outpatient setting, SARS-CoV-2-positive, new users of indomethacin, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that targets PGES-2, were less likely than matched new users of celecoxib, an NSAID that does not target PGES-2, to require hospitalization or inpatient services.

In the inpatient setting, again leveraging the medical billing data, the group compared the effectiveness of typical antipsychotics, namely haloperidol, which have activity against sigma receptor 1, versus atypical antipsychotics, which do not. Half as many new users of typical antipsychotics compared to new users of atypical antipsychotics progressed to the point of requiring mechanical ventilation. Typical antipsychotics can have significant adverse effects, but other sigma receptor 1-targeting drugs exist and more still are in development.

“It is critical to note that the number of patients taking each of these compounds represent small, non-interventional studies,” commented Dr. Krogan. “They are nonetheless powerful examples of how molecular insight can rapidly generate clinical hypotheses and help prioritize candidates for prospective clinical trials or future drug development. A careful analysis of the relative benefits and risks of these therapeutics should be undertaken before considering prospective studies or interventions.”

“These analyses demonstrate how biological and molecular information are translated into real-world implications for the treatment of COVID-19 and other viral diseases,” said Pedro Beltrao, Ph.D., group leader at EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute. “After more than a century of relatively harmless coronaviruses, in the last 20 years we have had three coronaviruses which have been deadly. By looking across the species, we have the capability to predict pan-coronavirus therapeutics that may be effective in treating the current pandemic, which we believe will also offer therapeutic promise for a future coronavirus as well.”

The full scientific publication titled “Comparative Host-Coronavirus Protein Interaction Networks Reveal Pan-Viral Disease Mechanisms” along with images and a video can be viewed here: https://science.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/10.1126/science.abe9403.

Press Conference Details:
Today’s press conference, which will include Drs. Krogan, Rezelj and Jeremy Rassen of Aetion, who will review findings from their research, can be accessed here. Spokespersons from other participating organizations will also be available for Q&A.

Media Briefing
October 15, 2020
8:00 a.m. PDT / 11:00 a.m. EDT / 5:00 p.m. CEST
Publication: https://science.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/10.1126/science.abe9403

Register in advance here
Log in live: https://ucsf.zoom.us/j/97599689043?pwd=aU9UOS9YMytjWmtXcWIxbjhra3dvdz09

About QBI: The Quantitative Biosciences Institute (QBI) is a University of California organized research unit reporting through the UCSF School of Pharmacy. QBI fosters collaborations across the biomedical and the physical sciences, seeking quantitative methods to address pressing problems in biology and biomedicine. Motivated by problems of human disease, QBI is committed to investigating fundamental biological mechanisms, because ultimately solutions to many diseases have been revealed by unexpected discoveries in the basic sciences. Learn more at qbi.ucsf.edu.

About UCSF: The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is exclusively focused on the health sciences and is dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. UCSF Health, which serves as UCSF’s primary academic medical center, includes top-ranked specialty hospitals and other clinical programs, and has affiliations throughout the Bay Area. Learn more at ucsf.edu or see our Fact Sheet .

About Gladstone Institutes: To ensure our work does the greatest good, Gladstone Institutes focuses on conditions with profound medical, economic, and social impact—unsolved diseases. Gladstone is an independent, nonprofit life science research organization that uses visionary science and technology to overcome disease. It has an academic affiliation with UC San Francisco. Learn more at gladstone.org.

Authorship and funding: This work was funded by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, both part of the National Institutes of Health; the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; the Center for Research for Influenza Pathogenesis; the Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; the Centers of Excellence for Integrative Biology of Emerging Infectious Diseases of the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (France); F. Hoffmann-LaRoche AG; Vir Biotechnology, Centre for Integrative Biological Signalling Studies (CIBSS), European Research Council (ERC) and the Ron Conway Family. Shokat is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. A complete list of authors and full funding information is available in the Science paper.

Media Contacts
Angela Bitting, Wheelhouse LSA Pete Farley, UCSF Office of Communications
a.bitting@comcast.net peter.farley@ucsf.edu
925-202-6211 415-317-3781
Sylvia Wheeler, Wheelhouse LSA
Gladstone Institutes
Julie Langelier, Gladstone Communications

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A video accompanying this announcement is available at:

LM Industries Announces $15M Funding from SPARX Group to deliver Olli to customers and consumers

Local Motors will empower communities to create opportunities for its citizens by providing innovative and locally relevant vehicles, such as Olli, and mobility solutions

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 15, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — LM Industries, the parent company of Local Motors – the world’s first and only digital vehicle manufacturer – today announced a $15 million raise from Mirai Creation Fund II (managed by SPARX Group Co., Ltd, the Japanese asset management firm). This financing will help Local Motors deliver Olli to customers and consumers who are seeking ways to redefine local mobility.

“When SPARX considers partnering with new businesses, we are committed to finding great companies, like Local Motors, with intentions and abilities to make the world a better place,” said Shuhei Abe, CEO of SPARX Group.

“Local Motors has a unique advantage to quickly deliver impactful products that can revolutionize the automotive and mobility industry,” said Seiji Miyasaka, President of SPARX Capital Investments, Inc., a US subsidiary of SPARX Group and new Local Motors board member. “At a time when the world is changing faster than ever, we’re thrilled to be working with a company that can evolve with it.”

This latest funding will be used to drive product development, production and deployment for Olli, the world’s first 3D-printed, electric, self-driving shuttle. Since entering series production for Olli 2.0, its latest iteration and the third generation of the Local Motors manufacturing line, the company has seen a significant resurgence in interest for safe and reliable transportation, recently deploying the first ever Olli 2.0 at the AZ Maria Middelares hospital in Ghent, Belgium and delivering the first 2.0 in the United States to Jacksonville Transportation Authority at the AV Test & Learn track at Armsdale.

“We share a dream with SPARX Group to completely reimagine the mobility and automotive industry, with the goal to truly move society forward in a profound way,” said Jay Rogers, co-founder and CEO of Local Motors. “Delivering innovative and locally relevant vehicles and mobility solutions has been at the core of our company from the beginning, and we look forward to pushing the industry to be a more clean, customer-centric business. SPARX’s investment, which includes Toyota Motor Corporation and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation as seed LPs for the Mirai Creation Fund II, proves that our commitment to low-speed autonomy and digital manufacturing can make a direct impact in the world through cleaner manufacturing and better mobility experiences for all.”

Throughout the pandemic, Local Motors has continued to address the need for clean and safe autonomy. In July, the company announced a partnership with Beep, the Florida-based Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) provider, with plans to deploy hundreds of autonomous vehicles in the coming years. Additionally, Local Motors made significant strides in validating the safety of its vehicles this year, proving that its 3D-printed structure performs at an equivalent level to traditionally manufactured vehicles during crash testing.

“Our partnership with Beep, improved crash testing process, and distinct manufacturing method puts Local Motors in a unique position capable of meeting consumers’ constantly changing needs around the world today and in the future,” said Rogers. “This funding will help propel our vision forward, and continue making a difference in our communities.”

About Local Motors
Local Motors empowers communities to create and manufacture opportunity. We provide innovative and locally relevant vehicles and mobility solutions. We have the unrivaled capacity to make the improbable come to life and are focused on delivering Olli to customers and consumers around the world. LM Industries is the parent company of Local Motors.

About Mirai Creation Fund I and Mirai Creation Fund II
The Mirai Creation Fund I began operations in November 2015 with financing of JPY 13.5 billion from three companies: Toyota Motor Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and SPARX, the Fund’s general partner. Ultimately, the Fund received contributions from 20 companies, including the above three. Casting intelligent technologies, robotics, and hydrogen-economy technologies as core technologies of the future, Fund I has invested in approximately 50 companies and projects—from the US, the UK, Israel, Singapore, and Japan—that possess innovative technologies in these fields. In H2 2018, SPARX began managing the Mirai Creation Fund II, which targets the three existing Mirai Creation fields along with the two additional areas of electrification and new materials. As of June 30, 2020, the combined AUM for Fund I and Fund II were JPY 109.3 billion.

Media Contact
LaunchSquad for LM Industries

Degreed launches Career Mobility product to help HR and talent leaders build responsive, on-demand workforces

The new product will help talent and HR leaders create more agile and responsive workforces by automatically matching people to projects, stretch assignments, mentorships, and roles, based on their skills, experience, and career goals.

PLEASANTON, Calif., Oct. 15, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Degreed, the workforce upskilling platform, has launched Degreed Career Mobility to enable both HR leaders and people managers to adapt quickly to market changes and evolving needs by matching people with in-demand skills to projects, assignments, and roles. Where skill gaps are identified, Degreed Career Mobility also automatically identifies needed skills and presents relevant learning opportunities.

As first previewed to over 10,000 attendees at LENS Lite, Degreed’s virtual conference on September 30th, Degreed Career Mobility unlocks internal career growth for individuals, and empowers leaders to better identify and utilize the talent within their organizations.

Individuals are able to apply, practice, and develop their skills through opportunities tied to their experience or goals that are presented in their feeds and search results. This ensures they feel continuously challenged, engage all their skills, and have a learning and career plan for that’s future proof. Meanwhile, team managers and business leaders can now, with limited bias, find the talent they need, when they need it, using the most up-to-date data on workers’ skills, experiences, and ambitions. This improves agility, skill utilization, and visibility, as well as employee engagement, hiring costs, and alignment of talent strategies.

According to McKinsey & Company, organizations that can quickly mobilize talent to seize new opportunities have a better chance of outperforming competitors, and are six times more likely to report higher shareholder returns. Yet, only 39 percent of organizations are reported to currently achieve this. And more than half (53 percent) of business leaders, according to Gartner research, say a lack of skills visibility is their top barrier in transforming their workforce.

“Increasingly, business leaders see that opportunity comes from within,” said Chris McCarthy, CEO of Degreed. “Hiring externally costs, on average, $4,425 per role compared to $2,603 when reskilling and hiring internally. So, there are clear cost as well as speed benefits to using technology to mobilize people into new assignments. This is before you even consider the benefits of retaining employees, responding to change, and ensuring people are continuously challenged and engaged by their work. Degreed Career Mobility simplifies the way organizations oversee skills, mobilize people as needs change, and upskill with a clear direction towards the future.”

To discover more about Degreed Career Mobility visit the website.

About Degreed

Degreed is the workforce upskilling platform for one in three Fortune 50 companies. We integrate and curate all the resources people use to learn and grow — including learning management systems and millions of courses, videos, articles, books, and podcasts. Then we use data science to analyze everyone’s skills, and to automatically match people to new challenges based on their jobs, strengths, and goals. Founded in 2012, Degreed is headquartered in Pleasanton, California, with additional offices in Salt Lake City, New York, London, Amsterdam, and Brisbane.

Learn more about Degreed: Website | YouTube | LinkedIn | Twitter

Note to editors: Trademarks and registered trademarks remain the property of their respective owners.

Media Contacts:

Sarah Danzl
Head of Global Communications, Degreed

Philips and Mandaya Royal Hospital Puri sign seven-year partnership agreement to provide patient-centered care

October 15, 2020

Turnkey solution for newly-built hospital combines latest innovations in enterprise diagnostic imaging, connected care and informatics, as well as service, maintenance and financing

Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Jakarta, Indonesia  Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, and Mandaya Royal Hospital Puri today announced a seven-year strategic partnership agreement integrating a comprehensive range of cutting-edge medical technologies and solutions that will bring world-class healthcare services to Mandaya Royal’s patients and staff. The agreement includes first of kind imaging and image-guided therapy technologies for the region, integrated informatics and connected monitoring solutions to support leading clinical care delivery. Also included in the partnership are Philips’ Ambient Experience solutions, which use dynamic lighting, projection and sound to enhance the experience of patients and staff. Support for the partnership has been provided by the Netherlands’ Export Credit Agency, a first for Philips in Indonesia.

Opening in early 2021, Mandaya Royal Hospital Puri will have over 350 beds, six operating theatres, over 100 outpatient examination rooms, three advanced medical centers – a Cardiovascular Center, an Advanced Oncology Center, and a Neuroscience Center – and 14 state-of-the-art specialist clinics, and is expected to receive over a thousand patients each day. Intended to be a national referral hospital for the entire Indonesian archipelago, the hospital will strive to deliver patient-centered care personalized to the needs of each patient, incorporating advanced health technology to improve patient outcomes. Philips will support Mandaya Royal Hospital Puri with its end-to-end approach, providing integrated solutions across the multi-year engagement to drive improvements in patient outcomes, experience, quality of care and efficiency.

“We are firmly in line with the government’s intention to create centers of excellence that can support integrated care pathways across Indonesia,” said Dr. Benedictus R. Widaja, MBChB (UK), President Director of Mandaya Hospital Group. “Mandaya Royal Hospital Puri has been designed from the ground up as a patient-centered facility. From the architecture to the layout and even the lighting, all are designed to make the patient experience positive and uplifting. Our philosophy aligns perfectly with Philips’ concept of connecting patients and providers for more effective, coordinated and personalized care. Building medical services around the wellness of the patient is exactly what we plan to offer at Mandaya Royal Hospital Puri.”

“As a leading health technology company, Philips provides meaningful innovations in collaboration with healthcare providers to deliver value-based healthcare,” said Pim Preesman, Managing Director, Philips Indonesia. “We deliver solutions that take the complexity out of healthcare through a truly integrated approach to drive better health outcomes, improve the patient and staff experience, and lower the cost of care. We are excited to partner with Dr. Ben and his team to build an advanced, patient-focused hospital based on smart technology and innovation.”

Mandaya Royal Hospital Puri will be equipped with the latest advanced technology and solutions from Philips, including the next-generation Azurion image-guided therapy system, the Ingenia Ambition MR, the world’s first MR for helium-free operations and the IQon Spectral CT, the world’s first and only detector-based spectral CT. Enterprise informatics solutions including IntelliBridge Enterprise and Vue PACS will support collaboration and optimize workflows, shortening the path to precise diagnostic decisions.

Connected patient monitoring and integrated analytics solutions from Philips will also enable the continuous monitoring of patients wherever they are in the system – providing a comprehensive solution during the entire treatment and recovery process. The IntelliSpace Critical Care and Anesthesia (ICCA) system is an advanced clinical decision support and automatic documentation solution, providing analytics, integrated care management, and reporting throughout the ICU care cycle. Another system, the IntelliVue Guardian Solution (IGS) is a patient monitoring and workflow system that monitors and identifies subtle signs of deterioration or warning signs in a patient’s physiological condition and then alerts staff to intervene in a timely manner.

For further information, please contact:

Mark Groves
Philips Global Press Office
Tel: +31 631 639 916
Email: mark.groves@philips.com
Twitter: mark_groves

Yulin Febrina
Corporate Communication Manager, Philips Indonesia
Tel: +62 2965 1330
E-mail: yulin.febrina@philips.com

About Royal Philips

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a leading health technology company focused on improving people’s health and enabling better outcomes across the health continuum from healthy living and prevention, to diagnosis, treatment and home care. Philips leverages advanced technology and deep clinical and consumer insights to deliver integrated solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company is a leader in diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics, as well as in consumer health and home care. Philips generated 2019 sales of EUR 19.5 billion and employs approximately 81,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. News about Philips can be found at www.philips.com/newscenter.


Trip.com Launches New Airline Partner Portal

Trip.com marks the introduction of its new platform with virtual happy hour launch event with key airline industry partners in Australia and New Zealand

SYDNEY, Oct. 15, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Leading international online travel services provider Trip.com this week launched an all-new platform for airline partners. To commemorate the launch, the online travel agency hosted a live virtual happy hour event, which was attended by over 40 key industry partners in the Australia and New Zealand markets.

The Partner Portal is the first of its kind and has been developed by the leading global OTA to offer airline partners 24/7 access to trends and information that will assist in commercial decision-making, and support the recovery of the industry following the impact of COVID-19.

Introducing the Portal, Trip.com Senior Director of International Markets CT said, “As a technology-driven organisation we understand the value that trends and analysis can bring to our airline partners. In this new era for travel, it is crucial that commercial decisions are informed and targeted.”

The Portal offers a broad range of insights including search performance, ticketed and flown revenue, as well as booking behaviour.

Partners can use the self-service tool to obtain a market overview, or drill down to specific flight route performance indicators, including cabin class, length of stay, booked segments and average ticket price.

“Whether you want to review current performance or monitor emerging trends, you will have the information at your fingertips,” said CT.

Trip.com remains dedicated to working with airline partners in both Australia and New Zealand, and is committed to providing innovative technological solutions for the travel sector.

“As a technology company, we are constantly making innovations in our products. This is as true for customers as it is for partners, both of whom we are committed to supporting throughout this recovery,” added Trip.com Regional Airline Director, Oceania and South East Asia, Kirk Wong.

Trip.com is a one-stop travel shop for Australian travellers, offering reservations for flights, hotels, trains, car hire, airport transfers, day tours and attraction tickets, and is available on both desktop mobile.

About Trip.com

Trip.com is a leading international online one-stop travel service provider, available in 21 languages across 31 countries and regions. Our platform combines over 1.4 million hotels in 200 countries and regions, more than 2 million flights connecting 5000 cities, and world-class 24/7 English language customer service as well as additional centres in Edinburgh, Tokyo and Seoul, ‘making every trip the perfect trip’ for our millions of customers worldwide.

Trip.com Rep Details
For further information, please contact
Trip.com PR
Tel: (+86) 21 3406 4880 ext 196455

Wessanen to acquire Little Lunch, market leader in Organic Soups and Meals in Germany, the biggest Organic market in Europe

Wessanen and the shareholders of Little Lunch have signed an agreement for the purchase of 100% of the business, subject to agreement of the Bundeskartellamt (German Cartel Office).

Founded in 2014, Little Lunch has developed into the market leader in the German market for organic soup. Over the years, the range has grown and now also includes meal makers and sauces. All products are 100% organic and are made without added sugar, aromas, colourants or preservatives. The brand is widely distributed across the German Grocery Market and is very successful in the online channel.

Organic and vegetarian meals are a core category for Wessanen and Germany as the biggest organic market in Europe is of strategic importance.

Christophe Barnouin (CEO of Wessanen): “We are happy with this fast growing and strategic acquisition and look forward to welcoming the Little Lunch team to our family of companies. Allos Hof-Manufaktur, our German business, has successfully grown over the past years in the Health Food and Grocery channels. We believe that the integration of Little Lunch will gives us many opportunities in this important country and across Europe.”

Daniel and Dennis Gibisch(Founders of Little Lunch) commented: “We have built up Little Lunch with a lot of love and passion and made it a success in Germany. Among all possible partners we looked at we found the fit with Wessanen the strongest. We are excited about the new opportunities that will come out of working together with such a strong partner at our side.”

For more information, please contact:

Klaus Arntz (EVP Marketing and Sustainability)
Phone    +31 6831 68668
Email      klaus.arntz@wessanen.com
Twitter   @Wessanen_250


Blue California’s 98% Pure Rosavel® Without Color and Odor is the Natural Preservation Solution

Food and beverage manufacturers will now have access to a scalable natural preservative for complimenting healthy clean-label ingredients in products.

Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif and Bedford, Mass., Oct. 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — To help brands keep food and drink fresh in a natural and sustainable way, Blue California announced jointly with biotech innovator Conagen, the commercialization of Rosavel®, a next generation natural preservation solution with 98% high-purity rosmarinic acid made by bioconversion without the color or flavor associated with rosemary.

Rosmarinic acid is a naturally occurring polyphenolic compound in the rosemary plant, which possesses natural antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, making it ideal as a natural alternative to synthetic preservatives. Yet, these crude extracts may accompany an intense rosemary flavor and color when it is used as a natural preservative.

Blue California solved this problem developing a high-purity Rosavel which is unlike any natural preservative on the market today. With its robust antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, Blue California’s Rosavel is the next generation rosmarinic acid changing the ingredient landscape for how food manufacturers will preserve products naturally.

A major challenge for manufacturers is the shelf-life and stability of products containing natural clean-label ingredients that have a high propensity for spoilage. As consumer preference of “better-for-you” foods are on the rise, brands are replacing artificial preservatives with natural solutions in products.

Oxidation causes deterioration of food and drink, leading to unpleasant smells, flavors, colors as well as generation of unhealthy compounds. While the current solution is the use of synthetic antioxidants such as BHA, BHT, TBHQ and EDTA, consumers are reluctant to purchase foods with artificial preservatives or additives that sound chemical.

“Rosavel is an ideal example how Conagen is rapidly developing sustainable, nature-based ingredients to improve on existing options in the market. We are scaling-up and commercializing this and other similar novel ingredient solutions.” said Conagen’s VP of Innovation, Dr. Casey Lippmeier.

Starting with FDA GRAS affirmation first with commercialization in 2021, Rosavel is headed for global regulatory approval.

Rosavel® is a registered trademark of Blue California, Inc.

About Blue California and Conagen

Blue California is a vertically integrated technology company providing innovative ingredient solutions to global partners. With more than 20 years of innovation success, our ingredients are used in commercial products and applications in the industries of nutrition, personal care, healthy aging and wellness, functional food and beverage, and beauty. www.bluecal-ingredients.com

Conagen is making the impossible possible. Our scientists and engineers are bettering humankind and the world by employing advanced synthetic biology tools for the bioproduction of high-value ingredients for food, nutrition, flavor and fragrance, pharmaceutical, and renewable materials industries. www.conagen.com


Ana Arakelian
Blue California ingredients