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R&D alliance targets antioxidant enzymes for gut health

By Stephen Daniells , 17-Dec-2010

A new product development alliance between Deerland Enzymes and Thione International aims to produce enzyme and antioxidant compositions for the burgeoning gut health category.

“This exclusive alliance will target applications that combine Thione’s years of research in antioxidants with Deerland’s expertise in multi-component enzyme blends and formulations,” said the companies.

The alliance sees the highly experienced gastroenterologist-hepatologist Dr Theodore (Ted) Hersh named as chief science officer, with the goal of boosting new product development (NPD), working closely with Hilton Dawson, Deerland’s chief technology officer.

“[Dr, Hersh] has vast expertise in antioxidants and enzyme preparations and their clinical applications,” said Scott Ravech, CEO of Deerland Enzymes. “As Chairman/CEO of Thione International, Dr. Hersh’s own research and patented product launches will allow us to focus our new product development efforts in areas that include digestive health, antioxidants, inflammation and recovery.”

Market potential

According to a recent report from MarketsandMarkets, digestive health ingredients are the fastest growing segment for US food ingredients. Indeed, according to data obtained from Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD), 38 such products were launched in the US in 2007, 137 in 2008, 127 in 2009, and 93 so far this year.

The market is led by prebiotics and probiotics, followed by enzymes, said the report.

Thione’s Hersh said that the companies plan to introduce various initiatives to educate the consumer on the benefits of the formulation.

The goal of the new alliance is to “develop enzyme and antioxidant compositions with significant clinical applications in order to ameliorate a person’s gastrointestinal symptoms, improve digestive function and enhance nutrition”, he said.

“It is a privilege to be associated with the fine scientists and professional staff at Deerland and have the opportunity of developing new formulations at their state-of-the art-facility in Georgia,” added Dr Hersh.

Measurable benefits

The NutraIngredients focus on gut health found that consumers have responded to the near-instantaneous health effect of digestive health products. Consumers with digestive health issues draw real benefits from probiotic and prebiotic products, and that, if consumed at the right doses, generally deliver on their functional promise.

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, 95m people in the US suffer from digestive problems. Some 60m are thought to suffer from heartburn, and 50m from irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, it is estimated that around 20m people suffer from stomach ulcers.

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