Roche Vitamins is to start production of pure epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the active compound in green tea, at a new production plant in Shanghai.
Swiss pharmaceuticals group Roche said it is the world's first industrial manufacturer of pure EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which it will market under the trade name Teavigo. The move consolidates its position as world leader in active ingredients for animal and human nutrition and for the cosmetics industry.
Roche Fine Chemicals Shanghai has opened the EGCG plant in the Gonglu, Pudong New Area, of the city. It will begin with an annual output of more than 40 tonnes.
EGCG, the major active health compound of green tea, is a highly effective antioxidant, which removes free radicals and plays an important role in the prevention of a number of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, gastrointestinal disorders, periodontal disease and dental cavities, according to Roche.
Teavigo can be widely used in beverages, solid foods, pharmaceutical products and dietary supplements without impairing the colour or taste profile of the final product.
The Shanghai unit is wholly owned by Roche's Vitamins and Fine Chemicals Division, recently bought by Dutch life sciences group DSM. The sale is currently awaiting approval by the anti-trust authorities.
Roche's Vitamins and Fine Chemicals recorded sales of more than SF3.4 billion in 2002.