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Senomyx, Inc. (SNMX)

Citi 2012 Global Consumer Conference Call

May 24, 2012 08:15 am ET


Kent Snyder - Chairman and CEO

Gwen Rosenberg - VP, IR & Corporate Communications

Cath Bovenizer - Executive Director and Controller


David Driscoll - Citigroup


David Driscoll

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Good morning, everybody. My name is David Driscoll. I'm Citigroup's Food Manufacturing Analyst and I'm delighted to present our next company presentation today. Starting off this morning is Senomyx. Senomyx is a discovery company involved in developing innovative flavor ingredients for the food beverage and ingredient supply industries using the firm's unique proprietary technologies.

Presenting from Senomyx are Kent Snyder, CEO and Chairman of the Board; Gwen Rosenberg, Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications and Cath Bovenizer, Executive Director and Controller.

Mr. Snyder joined Senomyx in June of 2003 and has served as Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors since that time. Prior to joining Senomyx, Mr. Snyder held various marketing and sales management positions with Agouron Pharmaceuticals, a Pfizer company.

Cath Bovenizer is the Executive Director and Controller at Senomyx and she has been there since 2004 and previously Cath worked for Coopers & Lybrand. So with that I'd like to turn the presentation over to Kent. Thank you very much.

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Kent Snyder

Thank you, David and thank you for your attendance this morning. As we go through the presentation, we may be making certain forward-looking statements and we would like for you to refer to our most recent SEC filings for complete disclosure of the risk factors.

Senomyx is a little bit different company than what you're going to see probably at the rest of the conference. We're a company that has taken a set of science that was discovered kind of the biotech pharmaceutical industry and we put it into what we called taste science and levied that body of science to come up with novel flavor ingredients and as David said, for the food, beverage and flavor ingredient companies.

The reason why we're doing this type of work that we're undertaking at Senomyx is that we're trying to address some of the challenges that food and beverage companies face such as health concerns, too much calories being consumed by consumers, the need for innovation, the need to control cost and foremost it's either to maintain an improved taste.

So at Senomyx we have five different programs. We'll cover with the Sweet Taste program in some detail later on but though the idea is to decrease the amount of added sweeteners and calories and products.

We have a Savory Flavors program, though the idea is to reduce or eliminate added MSG or monosodium glutamate from food and beverage products.

The Bitter Blocker program is just that to block the bitter taste of certain foods and beverages. We have a Cooling Flavor program where the idea is to discover novel cooling agents, improvements over menthol, if you will. And then we have a Salt Taste program, though the idea is to reduce added salted products again with health innovation being the primary driver of that program.

And we'll get into this in a little bit more detail but before we start talking about our individual programs, it's important to understand just a little bit about the physiology of the taste.

So we know where taste-bud are located on the tongue and we know that there are five basic taste. Sweet, salt, bitter, sour and the taste of MSG which is what we call savory, the Japanese call it umami. And so we know that, if you take a cross section of the taste-bud, you would see a bundle of cells and that's depicted on the right hand portion of the screen.

And each taste modality has its own individual cells. So there is a sweet cell or sour cell or salt cell et cetera and at the very end of these cells is a receptor and the receptor fits on the surface of the tongue. And so when a taste comes and activates or blocks that receptor, it sends a signal to the brain that you're tasting something sweet or something sour, whatever the case maybe.

So we use this physiology to discover either flavors which activate the receptor or flavor modulators, maybe idea is being to block bitter taste or enhance sweet taste. So to give you just a little bit more idea what it is that we do at Senomyx in terms of science, we have some animation that we'll go through.

Cath Bovenizer

Talin enhancer can actually reduce the amount of sweetener required in a product. Let's take a brief look at the physiology of taste. Taste buds are located at the front, back and far side to the tongue as depicted by the arrows. The surface of the tongue has several thousand taste buds located within small protrusions called papillae.

Each of the taste buds is comprised of about 50 to 100 taste cells. Each taste cells is specialized to recognize one of the five primary senses of taste which are sour, bitter, the taste of salt, savory also known as umami and sweet taste.

We'll take a look at the sweet cell to see how it functions. The tips of the sweet cells have proteins and service receptors for sweet taste sense such as sucrose or sucralose. We'll zoom in to see the receptors structure and function.

The sweet receptors have hinge structures known as Venus Flytrap that have a binding site for the sweetener, and as Senomyx discovered, a binding site for an enhancer. When a high amount of sucrose is present, the receptors are exposed to many sugar molecules. The high concentration of sugar causes a majority of receptors to close and become activated.

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