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UK firm set to enter US market with disintegrable gum polymer

By Oliver Nieburg , 12-Jul-2010

A degradable chewing gum polymer is poised for a 2011 launch in the US and Europe as developers, Revolymer, announced US self-affirmed GRAS approval for the product.

Company CEO Roger Pettman said it has acheived self affirmed GRAS (generally recognised as safe) status for its Rev 7 polymer following its assessment by an independent panel comprised of three former US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials.

The company will seek a letter of no objection from the FDA after 18 months, he continued, but was free to enter the market now and said it expects a US launch in Q4 2010.

And approval has also been secured for the polymer from 26 out of 27 EU states. Pettman would not reveal the name of the dissenting nation but added that approval in that country was pending some additional information from the company. The firm said it anticipates a European launch some time in 2011.

Cost and other implications

Pettman said that Revolymer was speaking to the industry and had three options open to it: to license to existing suppliers, license to private label businesses or produce its own brand. He added that he was already in contact with some chewing gum manufacturers.

He told ConfectioneryNews.com that although gum formulas would need to be tweaked, the polymer was a “drop in” in terms of manufacture and required no additional investment.

The cost of production, he said, worked out to around eight to nine cents per pack of gum, compared to the six to nine cents required to make regular gum. He added that while the cost difference was insignificant, this type of gum would be a top shelf premium product.

Although Revolymer’s technologies are patent protected, Pettman said there was nothing stopping large companies, such as Wrigley’s, developing its own solutions.

Degradability

Pettman said that gum made from the polymer Rev 7, if it goes into a drain, is expected to degrade between two to three months and on pavements in less than two years. After time, the gum starts to crack, goes like a spider’s web and disintegrates into pieces, he said.

The CEO presented the polymer at the Mayor of London’s ‘GumGala’ last Friday, which brought together industry players and the public sector to address gum littering in London.

Revolymer is part of the IP Group and is a spin-out company from the University of Bristol which launched in 2005.

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