Sweet Success


“Biolumen is a startup company that developed a dietary supplement called Monch Monch. It helps sequester sugar from food, reducing blood glucose levels and improving metabolic health. The team of enthusiastic scientists at Aelius Biotech provided outstanding in vitro experiments for our product. Their advanced technology allowed us to test real portion meal sizes with various foods. We conducted separate tests with ice cream and chocolate bars, and their expertise and reasonable pricing made the process smooth and insightful. We highly recommend Aelius Biotech for their exceptional service and knowledge in the field.”

``Aelius in vitro GI model has been a game-changer for the characterisation and development of our enzyme ingredient. Aelius has been a delight to work with, and we look forward to continuing our long-term collaboration with the team!``

The Background

Excess sugar consumption is a major health concern, linked to obesity, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. However, reducing sugar intake can be difficult as consumers much prefer the taste profiles of high-sugar food products over ‘better-for-you’ options. Consequently, the search for better and more accessible ways to reduce sugar in foods has become a key focus within the functional food industry.

At Aelius Biotech, we have been using our in vitro gut models and flexible approach to contract research to help two of our customers to test functional methods for reducing the amount of sugar absorbed from a meal during digestion.

Zya Enzymes have developed their Convero enzyme food ingredient. Their approach focuses on developing an inulosucrase enzyme able to convert ingested sucrose into a beneficial fibre that is not absorbed.

Biolumen has developed a fibre-based ‘sponge’ that can effectively bind up dietary sugar in the gut, thus preventing its absorption – they have launched into the US market as “Monch Monch”.


The Challenge

Human trials are the gold standard for research – but they are expensive, time consuming and have a high risk of failure. So improving and de-risking products in early-stage R&D is vital. Animal models are also expensive and time consuming – and not always predictive. Furthermore, well informed, ethically minded consumers may not want their products testing in animals. Therefore, an effective in vitro gut model was sought to provide a cost-effective, flexible method for testing and developing their functional products.

Our Solution

Aelius Biotech’s model gut provided an effective platform to assess the efficacy of Zya and Biolumen’s technology, allowing their formulations to be characterised in a fast and cost-effective manner. The ability to precisely mimic the complex human gut environment allowed for rapid testing and refining of their formulations. By accurately replicating the interaction between ingested sugar, digestive enzymes and the processes of absorption, they could precisely tailor their technology to characterise and understand the efficacy of their technologies for sugar reduction.

The speed and scalability of this approach offered a significant advantage over traditional pre-clinical testing methods. It accelerated development with quick turnaround times while requiring only minimal amounts of costly prototype products.

Our models enabled the testing of products in physiologically relevant digestive fluids, including whole bile, and in various conditions, both with and without food. This digestive model can also be integrated with our model of mucus permeation and epithelial absorption, allowing us to assess how these factors influence the absorption of substances into the body.

The Results

Through Aelius Biotech’s advanced gut modelling, Biolumen and Zya were able to:

Accelerate Development: Significantly reduced development time and cost compared to traditional clinical trials, with lower investment risk, allowing both companies to bring their products to market faster.

Optimise & Characterise Formulations: Precise testing within our model gut led to a better understanding of their ingredients and allowed for targeted adjustments to create a more effective product.

Reduce Animal Testing: Using our model gut to test the efficacy of prototype formulations offers an alternative to animal testing.

Ensure Efficacy: The model’s ability to replicate human digestion helped identify and address any potential efficacy concerns before human trials, reducing the development risk of Biolumen and Zya’s sugar-reduction technologies.



With our model gut system, we were able to design specific assays that put Zya and Biolumen’s technologies to the test in conditions that simulate real life. Whether this was testing their functionality against real foods – chocolate bars, ice cream, cereal bars – or understanding and identifying mechanisms of action, our assays and expertise were able to answer key R&D questions.

Since developing their products with Aelius Biotech, Zya and Biolumen are now attracting significant investment and media interest in their revolutionary products.

Get in touch

Aelius Biotech takes pride in contributing rigorous scientific insights. For a deeper understanding of what we can offer, explore our website for similar case studies and blogs. If you’re interested in collaborating or have any inquiries, feel free to get in touch.

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