Probi CEO Peter Nählstedt told us the firm needed fresh strains “for dairy to complement current ones which are suitable for fruit drinks”.
He said the strains - L. Rhamnosus LB21 and Lactococcus lactis L1A – “are proven in dairy, clinically tested and proven commercially in Sweden.”
The deal gives Probi exclusivity globally except Nordic nations and includes IP rights on two further strains - L. Plantarum 3 and L. Plantarum 7 – to be used for “future product development.”
The plantarum strains were, he said, “stable at higher temperature, which enables us to look at foods requiring heat treatment either in processing or preparation, like for instance baby food and oat meal.”
The two licensed strains appear in Swedish HQ’d Nordic dairy Norrmejerier’s Verum range of drinking yogurts, sour milks, juices and ready-to-eat cereal products.
Trials have shown the strains to have gut and immune health benefits.
“We regard this acquisition of new probiotic strains as a great opportunity to grow our functional food business area by adding the dairy segment to our offer,” Nählstedt stated.
“These strains have been used in the Verum dairy products for quite some years with proven success, and they will give us the opportunity to develop new product applications.”
Probi’s own strains are used in probiotic juice products like Danone-backed ProViva and rising US-based probiotic juice player, GoodBelly.
Swiss ingredients giant Symrise is a major shareholder in Probi which has deals in the US with supplement makers Pharmachem and NBTY.
The firm, which notched sales of 216m Swedish krona (€23.2m) in 2015, also has its own range of probiotic supplements called Probi Digestis.
Nählstedt is president of the International Probiotics Association – Europe.