It appeared to me KO wanted exclusivity on a sweet enhancer from SNMX, and perhaps Firmenrich already owned that sweet enhancer licensing ability through SNMX. This Chromocell company has given KO total exclusivity over everything, and KO essentially owns them if Chromocell ever gets anything to sell. PEP is smart if they have found a sweet enhancer or a salt enhancer that works for them -- even if they have to license the sweet stuff from a SNMX licensee. Time to market with a drink or snack that tastes identically as sugar or salt is the name of the game. Seems like KO has taken a big risk with no product close, and PEP's CEO says they are close to intro of something with SNMX enhancer technology.
I am skeptical as to what Pepsi considers “close”. The sucrose enhancer has not yet gotten GRAS approval for liquid beverages, and the Fructose enhancer has not been submitted for GRAS yet (please correct me if I am wrong with Fructose but I don’t think I am). The approval process for anything newly submitted would be 18+ months. So I don’t see this happening for a while with Fructose enhancers at least. Sucrose could come faster since this has been in the pipeline. Salt is way off. SNMX has not even mentioned a viable candidate for submitting for GRAS approval.
You are correct that the sucrose enhancer can't be used in beverages YET. On the other hand, the sucralose enhancer can be used in beverages. From what I recall this compound helps lower the sucralose levels enough to get rid of the fake sugar taste. My assumption would be that they would come out with something like Pepsi Max - zero calories with maximum taste.