From Absorption Accelerators to New Launches, Pathway Intermediates Plans EU Push - INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES

Source: Pathway Intermediates via Feedinfo

15 November 2021 - The feed industry is facing tough times, suffering from market uncertainties, and feeling the pressure of increased feed ingredient prices, skyrocketing logistics prices, the challenge that represents climate change, etc.

Each stakeholder in the animal nutrition supply chain has a responsibility towards ensuring a sustainable future, notably in Europe, playing a part in the Farm to Fork strategy for the EU Green Deal vision. And each stakeholder, through its own specialisation, technology, and knowhow, can contribute its piece to the puzzle.

One of these pieces is the usage of absorption accelerators – critical components of digestion in animals as absorption completes digestion and agents that can facilitate this process can be just as important as digestive enzymes.

Pathway Intermediates, a leading provider of this technology, argues that its own Lipidol® absorption accelerator, based on a high concentration of functional lysophospholipids obtained from soybean lecithin, has clear and proven advantages for animal nutrition, increasing the overall digestibility of nutrients, as well as in terms of cost savings – concepts that resonate well in a market somewhat traumatized by higher costs.

We turned to Dr. Sarah Berry - Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of Pathway Intermediates, to get some more background on the company and its product, and on what’s in store for the company in terms of new launches and further penetrating the European market.

[Feedinfo] Dr. Berry, can you give us a brief historical overview of your company?

[Sarah Berry] Pathway Intermediates was founded in 2001 in the UK by two scientists: Dr David Garnett, a cancer biologist with expertise in cell membranes and Dr Robin Jones, a mathematician with expertise in fluid mechanics. They worked in bioscience in the 1990s before setting up Pathway. The company started small, initially focusing on the creation of intellectual property to develop ideas and solutions for customers, before changing to focus on feed additives. From the beginning, scientific research has always been at the heart of what Pathway strives to do.

Dr. Sarah Berry
Chief Scientific Officer (CSO)
Pathway Intermediates

After a difficult first few years Pathway grew to three manufacturing sites in the UK but was still struggling to keep up with customer demand. A close relationship with a customer in South Korea, EASY BIO, led to a joint venture to establish production in South Korea in 2011, which was expanded again with a further joint venture in 2013.

In 2018, EASY BIO acquired Pathway Intermediates and there are now offices in the UK, Ireland, Spain, China, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the US. A network of distributors further extends our ability to be close to our customers in even more countries.

Alongside the production facilities and offices around the world Pathway Intermediates has two research centres: one in the UK and one in South Korea. Here, the multidisciplinary research teams focus on new product development alongside support to customers to help tailor solutions to meet their specific requirements.

[Feedinfo] How has the usage of lysophospholipids evolved in recent years? To what extent does Pathway Intermediates’ commitment to R&D follow this evolution?

[Sarah Berry] Pathway Intermediates first introduced lysophospholipids (LPLs) to the animal nutrition sector in 2001. As a pioneer of LPLs in animal nutrition, Pathway Intermediates has continued to research the unique and valuable functions of LPLs, the active components of Lipidol®, in animal nutrition over the last 20 years. This focus on R&D has resulted in over 90 successful animal studies across the world and over 20 peer-reviewed journal publications detailing the acknowledged efficacy of Lipidol®.

Previously, LPLs were well established as plant lecithin-oriented biosurfactants having highly effective emulsifying capacity in oil in water, which enhances fat emulsification in feeds and fat digestion of young animals. Through continued research both in vivo and in vitro, Pathway Intermediates observed that LPLs have the unique act on the intestinal epithelium, where nutrient absorption occurs. LPLs accelerate the nutrient transport from the lumen of the GI tract into the animal body. This function meant that Lipidol® immediately became one of the promising solutions for nutrient sparing by enhancing the bio-utilisation of feed nutrients in animals. This enables the reformulation of feed by the use of Lipidol® and it eventually contributes to saving the feed ingredients and costs to customers worldwide.

Pathway Intermediates has continued to study LPLs of Lipidol® and since identified further functions of interest for animal nutrition. Lipidol® improved the animal gut health and barrier function by increasing the ratio of intestinal villus: crypt depth and promoting the tight junction formation. These findings indicated LPLs of Lipidol® modulate the intestinal epithelium to not only activate nutrient absorption, to but also improve intestinal mucosal health and integrity.

Since 2017, Pathway Intermediates has expanded to animals with higher metabolic demands, such as lactating sows, dairy cows and aquaculture. Results from these studies showed that Lipidol® reduced the weight loss and increased their productivity in quantity and quality-wise. Today, powder, concentrated or liquid application of Lipidol® meets every customer and species requirements.

To overcome this current era of uncertainty, Pathway Intermediates delivers Lipidol® for reducing the nitrogen sources in feed whilst either maintaining or improving animal performance for profitable and sustainable solutions. Using sustainability calculations, Lipidol® was estimated to reduce the emission of nitrogen gas by 5 and 20 million metric tonnes in broilers and pigs, respectively. These results supported that the use of Lipidol® can accomplish the reduces of excess of nitrogen nutrient, which is part of the Farm to Fork strategy.

[Feedinfo] Beyond lysophospholipids, the company has also been steadily expanding its portfolio into other aspects of gut health and has been looking at phage technology. Can you talk to us about this pipeline?

[Sarah Berry] Lipidol® is our pioneering, flagship product that has set the standard of what we, as a company, produce. We have great confidence in our product portfolio.

Pathway Intermediates has developed novel feed additives such as ProBe-Bac™; a preparation of effective and concentrated bacteriophages available in both powder and liquid form. It is a solution to prevent the antimicrobial resistance threat as innovative AGP replacement uses naturally occurring microorganisms (bacteriophages) to target pathogenic bacteria in a species-specific manner. This product was developed through five years of collaborative research with a sister company of Pathway Intermediates called Optipharm; a leading company in the field of animal diagnosis and biomedical research in South Korea. Optipharm has developed a library of bacteriophages that have been precisely identified by whole genome sequencing, and rigorously studied against target bacterial species. And for the optimised application in feed, Pathway Intermediates and Optipharm have evaluated for a few years the ideal powder production and ultimate combination. Using this, Pathway Intermediates can provide a customised, targeted solution to the pathogenic bacterial species in each country, and for each animal species.

Also, Pathway Intermediates has extensive experience in producing and developing fermented products, such as using a new strain of yeast and using unique substances. These products focus on animal health and gut immunity for granting healthy food and sustainable agro-industries. Pathway Intermediates have started to introduce these fermented products into the European market.

The concepts of ‘pioneering and innovative’ research are two key themes that run through our R&D pipeline. This is inspired not just by the changing regulatory landscape, but by the needs and requirements of our customers. Key to this is the concept of sustainability; we aim to provide novel solutions, but they should be both environmentally conscious and sustainable. This is no easy feat to achieve, but our multi-disciplinary team located in our two research centres (Pathway Research Centre, UK and Bio-Resource Institute, South Korea) are ready for this challenge. Our R&D centres bring together scientists from a range of specialisms including molecular biology, microbiology, synthetic chemistry and chemical engineering. It is this breadth and depth of scientific acumen that allows us to utilise and combine different techniques to both develop and understand our products. This includes complementing microbiome sequencing with transcriptomics, the bio-manipulation of different microorganisms, and the synthesis of unique biological compounds, all with the aim of providing the next generation of targeted, sustainable feed additives.

[Feedinfo] Obtaining European registrations to sell feed additives is hard work and can be a long and expensive process. Yet, Pathway Intermediates is launching more products in Europe in the coming years. What does this say about your ambitions for the European market?

[Sarah Berry] Pathway Intermediates has planned to register three new feed additives by 2024 and two more by 2026 in the European market. In order to achieve this ambitious goal, Pathway Intermediates has reinforced the European regulatory affairs department by appointing a new regulatory affairs & technical support manager, Marina Sung, and contracting internal and external experts.

Published in association with Pathway Intermediates