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ChromaDex announces two new research collaborations

By Hank Schultz , 01-Jul-2013
Last updated on 01-Jul-2013 at 18:25 GMT

ChromaDex has announced two new research collaborations, one of which involves its newly introduced Niagen nicotinamide riboside ingredient.

ChromaDex has entered into a Material Transfer Agreement in which ChromaDex will supply the NR ingredient to The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) for studies concerning mitochondrial dysfunction in certain diseases.

ChromaDex developed Niagen as the patent-protected and first commercially available brand of nicotinamide riboside, which is known to boost levels of NAD+ in the cells. Studies have demonstrated that increasing the production of NAD+ can protect against axon degeneration caused by mechanical or neurological injury.

In the Scripps agreement, ChromaDex will supply its Niagen ingredient to be used in studies investigating the relationship between dysfunction of mitochondria, the energy-producing parts of the cell, and various life-threatening diseases.  More specifically, the studies have focused on whether disease-affected cells change the balance between nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD+, which has a positive charge, and NADH, an electrically neutral form of the molecule.  

TSRI research has shown that therapeutic normalization of the NAD+/NADH balance can prevent the disease progression.  The results translate into a new therapeutic strategy: enhancement of the NAD+/NADH balance through treatment with NAD+ precursors, such as nicotinamide riboside.

Jaksch said the TSRI research “portends one of the possible pharmaceutical uses for Niagen."

Catechin research

In addition to the TSRI research project, ChromaDex has been awarded a $225,000 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The grant will support research conducted in collaboration with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., under the topic of Enhancing the Bioeconomy using Emerging Biological Technologies (EBBT). The purpose of the research is to develop a microbial technique for producing catechins for commercial use in dietary supplement, nutraceutical, food, beverage and cosmetic products.

The project, entitled "STTR Phase I:  Microbial Production of Catechins," will set the stage for understanding the biosynthetic pathway and prove the viability of fermentation technology for selectively manufacturing catechins, according to the company.

Primarily found in green tea and cocoa, cathechins form the basis of a number of antioxidant compounds such as epicatechin (EC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG) and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Due to its low percentage in natural products such as green tea, it is not economically viable to isolate commercial quantities of catechins from these materials. ChromaDex said this  microbial fermentation strategy could help enhance the production of such beneficial catechins through a bioeconomic approach utilizing principles of synthetic biology, metabolic engineering and other emerging biotechnologies.

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