One of the most exciting new areas in food and wellness, nutrigenomics involves working out which chemicals in foods have the ability to turn on and off certain genes that are responsible for disease prevention.
The planned human trials, expected to begin in 2006, involve an ingredient derived from orange peel. Animal studies were completed in late 2005.
WellGen's Obesity Program is based upon the study of a proprietary gene panel. It is expected to yield functional food ingredients that can aid weight management through a gene-controlling mechanism.
WellGen CEO David Evans told NutraIngredients-USA.com in November that the company's expertise is in "leveraging the technology and working with the scientists to find new bioactive compounds that could have a significant effect on response to human disease". To take the resulting ingredients to market he plans to enter into partnerships.
Richard Morgan, CEO of Amphion Innovations, said: "Nutrigenomics has the potential to play a formidable role in the nutrition industry and we expect WellGen to establish themselves as the market leader through their patented screening technologies."
Moreover Morgan has shown willing to put his money where his mouth is; Amphion led this round of financing.
"We're excited about WellGen's prospects and are happy to increase our investment."
WellGen has also been researching theaflavins from black tea, which have been shown to turn off a number of genes involved in inflammation. Evans said that this could be the first product to come to market, as early as this year if the right commercial partner is found.