Solazyme, Inc., California-based leader in renewable oil and bioproducts, and Roquette Frères, the global starch and starch-derivatives company headquartered in France, have announced a joint venture (JV) agreement for the production, commercialization and market development of microalgae-derived food ingredients, subject to regulatory approvals and notifications.

The JV, which will be 50% owned by each parent company, will be named Solazyme-Roquette Nutritionals, and will be operational by the beginning of 2011. The JV’s management team and board of directors will be drawn from both parent companies, with Solazyme’s CEO, Jonathan Wolfson, serving as the initial CEO of the JV.

Solazyme-Roquette Nutritionals is being formed to launch a new category of natural, healthy and functional ingredients based on microalgae that provide superior nutritional properties along with outstanding taste and texture. The JV plans to launch a variety of oil, protein and fiber-based products aimed at delivering improved performance with “a vastly superior health profile compared to ingredients in the market today,” according to the companies.

This JV combines Roquette’s history and capabilities as a global food ingredient supplier with Solazyme’s highly innovative microalgae-based technology. Like Solazyme, Roquette has been actively developing a microalgal nutritional platform and runs the ALGOHUB® program while currently selling algae-based nutritional products. Roquette also possesses strong global manufacturing assets, and access to carbohydrate feedstock in multiple geographies through its network of highly efficient mills.

In this agreement Roquette will fund and build a JV-owned, commercial-scale manufacturing plant with capacity in the tens of thousands of tons of annual production, sited at a Roquette corn wet mill. Roquette will also provide upfront licensing payments to Solazyme and working capital to fund the JV until reaching profitability. Additionally, the JV will leverage Roquette’s large, global nutritional sales force to stimulate rapid market entry and provide access to major food companies worldwide.

“Roquette is a family-owned company with outstanding values which create the basis for a long-term relationship with Solazyme. Beyond that, Roquette provides a total package including feedstock, manufacturing and applications expertise, and robust sales, marketing and customer relationships,” says Jonathan Wolfson, CEO and co-founder of Solazyme.

“Solazyme and Roquette share a very clearly-defined vision that microalgae will provide a major new class of food ingredients, and we enter this JV very enthusiastic about the future” says Guy Talbourdet, CEO of Roquette.

Marc Roquette, Chairman of Roquette continued, “We believe that along with Roquette, Solazyme possesses the most innovative microalgal food ingredient technology in the world, and we look forward to using our extensive skills and assets to help bring this technology to market.”