Building on its core HealthCare Nutrition business, a leading player in the medical nutrition industry,
Nestlé Health Science aims to develop nutritional therapies that change the way people approach the management of health. In this context, Nestlé Health Science has made several acquisitions, investments and partnerships.
The acquisition of Vitaflo – headquartered in Liverpool, UK – has enabled Nestlé Health Science to establish a foothold in the fast-growing market for uniquely formulated products that address various congenital metabolic disorders that become apparent only shortly after birth.
Metabolic disorders result when people lack the necessary enzymes to break down the fat, carbohydrates or protein in foods they have ingested, resulting in serious medical problems and often requiring a specialized diet and nutritional solutions for life.
Vitaflo’s nutritional solutions help patients maintain or recover metabolic homeostasis, often playing the most important role in the management of the disorder. Developing products that taste good, and that are easy and convenient to use, is an important factor in promoting compliance with these highly restrictive dietary management protocols, which are always administered under medical supervision.
In line with our intent to bring new science-based nutritional solutions to gastrointestinal (GI) patients with a compromised or dysfunctional gut, Nestlé Health Science acquired Prometheus Laboratories Inc., based in San Diego, California (USA).
The company is committed to improving lives through the development and commercialisation of novel diagnostic products that enable physicians to provide greater individualised patient care.
Prometheus is primarily focused on the detection, diagnosis and treatment of disorders within the fields of gastroenterology and oncology. Its strategy includes the marketing and delivery of pharmaceutical products and is complemented by proprietary diagnostic testing services. By integrating therapeutics and diagnostics, Nestlé Health Science aims to provide physicians with more targeted solutions to optimise care for their patients.
Nestlé Health Science acquired the business of Pamlab, based in Covington, Louisiana (USA), which encompasses an innovative portfolio of medical food products for use under medical supervision in the nutritional management of patients with mild cognitive impairment, depression and diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
This acquisition has enhanced Nestlé Health Science capacity to deliver nutritional solutions in the areas of metabolic health and brain health.
Pamlab’s portfolio of prescription medical food products for use under medical supervision includes Metanx®, formulated to meet the distinct nutritional requirements of patients with diabetes to help restore the metabolic processes associated with peripheral neuropathy; Deplin®, a medical food specifically formulated to provide necessary nutritional support for certain people on prescribed antidepressant therapy for clinical depression; and CerefolinNAC®, a medical food that helps address the distinct metabolic nutritional needs associated with mild cognitive impairment. Please note that Pamlab’s portfolio is commercially available only in the USA.
KEY INVESTMENTS AND PARTNERSHIPS
Nestlé Health Science entered into a license agreement with Lipid Therapeutics GmbH (based in Heidelberg, Germany) for exclusive rights worldwide, except for Europe and Australia, to Lipid Therapeutics’ LT-02 compound (phosphatidylcholine). LT-02 is a novel barrier function therapy for patients with mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis. Under this agreement, Nestlé Health Science will further develop and commercialize LT-02 upon marketing approval by the relevant authorities in the licensed geographies. Nestlé Health Science plans to start phase III clinical trials in the US in 2016.
Lipid Therapeutics’ European development partner, Dr. Falk Pharma GmbH, a pharmaceutical company specialized in gastroenterology, announced the start of phase III trials for LT-02 in Europe in October 2014. As part of a strategic development approach, Nestlé Health Science, Dr Falk and Lipid Therapeutics will collaborate to generate the required clinical evidence in support of LT-02’s beneficial effects in the treatment of ulcerative colitis in order to obtain drug regulatory approvals.
More than one million people worldwide are estimated to suffer from ulcerative colitis, a chronic and debilitating inflammatory condition of the large intestine. The most common treatment is 5-aminosalicylic acid (mesalazine), However it is estimated that 40% of patients receiving the recommended dose of 5-aminosalicylic acid continue to experience persistent disease activity flares. The Nestlé Health Science development program will primarily assess LT-02 as an add-on therapy to 5-aminosalicylic acid. LT-02 has a novel mode of action that restores the colonic barrier function in the gut mucosa or ‘wall’ and through anti-inflammatory signaling and represents a first-in-class therapy for those patients still suffering flares while being treated with mesalazine.
Nestlé Health Science made an equity investment in Seres Therapeutics (before called Seres Health), based in Cambridge, Mass., USA. Seres is a leading microbiome therapeutics platform company developing a novel class of biological drugs (Ecobiotic®) that are designed to treat diseases by restoring the function of a dysbiotic microbiome. The Seres Therapeutics pipeline is relevant to Nestlé Health Science’s focus to develop novel therapeutic approaches for gastrointestinal, metabolic, brain disorders and other health conditions.
Nestlé Health Science’s investment helps fund the next stage of development of Seres Therapeutics’ lead product candidate, SER-109, an investigational oral microbiome therapeutic for the prevention of recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in adults who have had three or more occurrences within a nine month period. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designated SER-109 a breakthrough therapy.
Seres Ecobiotic® therapeutic product candidates are based upon microbial organisms, fundamentally different from traditional drugs. Advances in genomics are progressively revealing the importance of the microbiome, which comprise around 100 trillion microorganisms that live in the body, to various aspects of health.
Strategic Innovation Partnership with Flagship Ventures
Nestlé Health Science has entered into a strategic innovation partnership with Flagship Ventures, a leading venture capital and venture creation firm focused on innovations in healthcare and sustainability based in Cambridge, Mass., USA. Nestlé Health Science has invested in the Flagship Ventures Fund V. The partnership will focus on supporting start-up ventures working on nutritional health and therapy, and is intended to provide Nestlé Health Science with early exposure to Flagship’s innovative insights and technologies which may be further exploited through minority direct investments, licensing, joint ventures or acquisitions by Nestlé Health Science. .AstraZeneca and Bayer CropScience are also strategic innovation partners in the fund. A significant portion of the partnership’s funding is dedicated to investing in entrepreneurial companies developing breakthrough technologies in the novel nutritional therapy arena relevant to Nestlé Health Science, including brain, gastrointestinal and metabolic health.
Much of Flagship’s successful 15-year track record of venture funding and creation has been built in the healthcare field, specifically in therapeutics. Through the partnership, Nestlé Health Science gains access to Flagship’s unique model of entrepreneurial innovation through acquisitions, minority stakes, licensing and joint-ventures. Cost effective, safe and clinically proven nutritional therapies – that realize the potential of nutrients to impact disease and health states at a physiological level – have a big role to play in addressing the intensifying healthcare challenges and unmet clinical needs. This fund creates multiple opportunities that can directly relate into the Nestlé Health Science pipeline and portfolio over time.
Nutrition Science Partners Limited (NSP) is a new 50/50 joint venture between Nestlé Health Science and the pharmaceutical and healthcare group Chi-Med.
Nutrition Science Partners aims to research, develop, manufacture and market innovative nutritional and medicinal products derived from botanical plants.
In addition, Nutrition Science Partners gets access to Chi-Med’s traditional Chinese medicine library of more than 50,000 extracts from over 1,200 different herbal plants and its world-class expertise. This includes access to a gastrointestinal botanical research and development platform, which includes discovery research, nonclinical and pharmaceutical science functions, and information on botanical guidelines and regulations. Nutrition Science Partners will focus on gastrointestinal health and may in the future expand into the metabolic disease and brain health areas.
Nestlé Health Science acquired a minority stake in Accera, a privately held U.S. company based in Broomfield, Colorado (USA) that specialises in the research, development and commercialisation of medical foods for neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, which affects more than 30 million people worldwide.
The stake in Accera enabled Nestlé Health Science to make a strategic step forward in building up its brain health portfolio, which is fully aligned with our science-based nutrition vision.
Accera’s key brand, Axona®, a medical food that is already on the market in the USA, is intended for the clinical dietary management of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Please note that Axona® is commercially available only in the USA.
Addressing Gastrointestinal Conditions
In line with our intent to grow the area of nutrition in gastrointestinal disease management, Nestlé Health Science became a strategic partner of Vital Foods, based in Auckland New Zealand, and acquired a minority stake in this business that has a portfolio of natural products supporting general digestive health, particularly bowel functioning.
Vital Foods’ products – Kiwi Crush™, a functional drink,and Phloe®, a special kiwifruit extract that comes in a tablet and capsule formulation – are 100% naturally derived from New Zealand green kiwifruit, extracted using Vital Foods’ unique, proprietary process. Both Kiwi Crush and Phloe are well-established, widely used and recommended in New Zealand. Phloe is a leading OTC laxative product in the New Zealand pharmacy channel.