The new Health Science division Nestlé created last September has made its second acquisition by buying $250m a year US gastroenterology and oncology diagnostic specialist, Prometheus Laboratories Inc., for an undisclosed sum.
Prometheus focuses on conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis and has, “in-licensed specialty pharmaceuticals.”
From its Swiss base, Nestlé’s head of R&D communications, Hilary Green, said the acquisition would focus on the US market to begin with, especially, “the HealthCare part of Nestlé Health Science’s business in the US”.
Product areas would include:
- Nutren Fiber
- Nutrisource Fiber
- Peptamen (Complete Elemental Nutrition) – for GI-compromised patients:
More broadly Green added: “The Nestlé Health Science business will grow organically as well as through acquisitions and in-licensing – I would not like to speculate about the nature or timing of any future acquisition.”
In a statement, Nestlé Health Science president and CEO, Luis Cantarell, affirmed the core interests of his division, which officially kicked into life in January to, “the opportunity between food and pharma”, by saying:
"This acquisition is a strategic move into gastrointestinal diagnostics. Prometheus's leading edge diagnostics and highly experienced medical sales representatives together constitute a robust platform for Nestlé Health Science to accelerate its current and future healthcare business. It will enable new personalised healthcare solutions based on diagnostics, pharma and nutrition."
Nestlé Health Science affirmed its R&D pipeline would also encompass metabolic conditions and brain health.
Prometheus president and CEO Joseph M Limber said: "We are delighted to join Nestlé Health Science, and share their commitment to personalised healthcare. Together, we will accelerate the development of our innovative diagnostic platforms for gastroenterology and oncology. We intend to leverage Nestlé Health Science's products and geographic presence to add the nutritional dimension to our successful business model."
In February Nestlé Health Science, acquired UK medical foods start-up CM&D Pharma Limited, and aims in 2012 to release a medical gum called Fostrap being developed by the company.
The gum utilises the polysaccharide chitosan to bind phosphate (via electrolysis) and prevent it entering the digestive system, can reduce the incidence of hyperphosphataemia (excessive phosphate in the blood) among patients with chronic kidney disease or renal insufficiency.