InterMed Discovery (IMD), a world class natural product lead-discovery company, today announced the acquisition of unique microbial Omega-3 fatty acid production strains and related know-how from the University of Saarland. This innovative microbial source has the potential to produce Omega-3 more sustainably and reliably compared to established sources.
The two fatty acids EPA and DHA are particularly important and the concentrations of both and their ratios are directly related to the utility of Omega-3 in different therapeutic settings. At present, Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly those with high levels of EPA, are derived from fish. However, with dwindling fish populations and rising demand for Omega-3 the search for more sustainable alternatives has been on. In addition, fish is an unreliable source since the Omega-3 concentration can exhibit significant batch variation. This is also a problem with potential alternative sources such as algae, which generate mainly DHA while the yields for EPA are very low or even none at all.
The microbial strains that IMD has acquired are sustainable sources that generate reliably high yields of Omega-3 fatty acids, which significantly out-perform current sources. This source also offers a more favourable ratio between the fatty acids DHA and EPA. This is in turn expected to lead to the development of enhanced Omega-3 formulations allowing for outstanding and new product applications for the Pharma, Food and Dietary Supplement industries.
“These microbial strains offer not only a new sustainable and reliable source of Omega-3, but also give us the capability to develop products with outstanding quality at competitive pricing,“ said Bernard Becker, Managing Director of InterMed Discovery. “This new microbial source, in conjunction with our world-class technology platform, gives us the leading edge in this competitive market and further enhances the reputation of our functional ingredients business.”
IMD will lead the collaborative research and development project with the team at the University of Saarland. Financial terms were not disclosed.
About InterMed Discovery
InterMed Discovery is an emerging world class natural product lead-discovery company, driving innovation through the generation of novel product candidates for the life science, food and cosmetics industries. Using one of the most powerful validated natural product discovery engines, InterMed Discovery generates proprietary product pipelines of early stage pharmaceuticals and functional ingredients and also supports partners in research and lead generation. Biologically characterised product leads are identified using IMD BIOPROFILING® and NPSilico®, which together comprise a proprietary bioinformatics platform drawing on screening results compiled over many years, complemented by primary biological and chemical research on natural products. InterMed Discovery adds to this the industry’s largest collections of pure compounds, sample fractions and mixtures as its source for potential natural product leads. The Company is located in Dortmund, Germany and was founded in 2006 as a management buyout of the Natural Products Research Unit of Bayer Healthcare. IMD entered into strategic cooperations with companies such as Cognis GmbH and Biotropics Malaysia Berhad. Further information on InterMed Discovery can be found at www.intermed-discovery.com.
Notes for editors:
Omega-3 fatty acids are widely used as active ingredients in dietary supplements, baby food and pharmaceutical applications. In particular, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are considered to have a positive effect in a variety of indications such as heart and cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, cancer prevention, as well as enhancing cognitive ability or avoiding and treating obesity. The market for Omega-3 fatty acid products in the USA is expanding with sales growing from $2b in 2009 up to $7b in 2011, reflecting an annual growth rate of 24%.
At present, Omega-3 fatty acids are sourced mainly from fish oil and from algae. However, neither of these sources are expected to be able to expand at the rate of market growth. An alternative efficient, sustainable and cost effective source for the production of high quality Omega 3 acids (especially EPAs/DHAs) is therefore necessary.
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