Senomyx Inc., a local biotech that makes flavor enhancers, has extended its collaboration with PepsiCo.

The agreement extends PepsiCo’s funding for Senomyx’s product research for three more years — through September 2019.

Senomyx’s ingredient products help food and beverage companies make their products more palatable — especially low-calorie versions.

The company’s product Sweetmyx, for example, is used to boost the sweet taste of products so that companies can reduce added sugar without sacrificing on the flavor. Another product, Bittermyx, is used to reduce the bitterness of certain ingredients such as hydrolyzed soy and whey proteins, menthol, caffeine, cocoa, and stevia.

Under the new deal, Senomyx granted PepsiCo nonexclusive rights to natural sweeteners and natural flavor ingredients discovered and developed under the collaboration for use in all nonalcoholic beverage categories.

The new arrangement could bring in $18 million in research and development payments for Senomyx over the three-year research period. Senomyx will also be eligible for milestone and royalty payments based on the sale of products containing natural sweeteners or ingredients, according to a Senomyx statement.

PepsiCo gets the option to further extend the research collaboration for two more years, which would result in additional research funding commitments.

"PepsiCo is an industry leader, committed to reducing added sugar in their products and creating great tasting options for consumers," said John Poyhonen, president and CEO of Senomyx, in a statement. "We are looking forward to continuing our collaboration with PepsiCo given our common objective of developing products that meet the growing demand for lower-calorie offerings."