Alltracel may team up with other ingredient suppliers

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition Phytosterol Sterol

Alltracel has slashed its operating losses in first half 2006 and
continues to seek partners and acquisitions - a plan that may, at
some stage, involve teaming up with plant sterol or omega-3

In his commentary on the first half results, CEO Tony Richardson said: "We continue to consider potential value adding acquisition and alliances provided they are a good fit with our business development strategy and build on our core IP."

Company spokesperson Noel Toolan told that such acquisitions and alliances, which may represent a formalisation of partnerships, could "absolutely"​ include teaming up with plant sterol or omega-3 suppliers.

"It is always under consideration, and although there is nothing to report at the moment that would be a significant milestone."

This year Alltracel has conducted studies to see whether combining the bioactive with plant sterols, statin drugs, and omega-3 can increase its LDL cholesterol-lowering potential.

In the former two cases, positive results have been reported, exceeding the effects of the bioactive or sterols or statins alone. No results are available to date for the combination with omega-3. The bioactive has also been seen to reduce blood glucose levels and help prevent arterial plaque build-up.

Advanced discussions over the bioactive's commercialisation are currently underway with ten functional food players, covering different areas of functional foods and different geographical markets (Europe, North America and Japan).

Toolan was not able to give a time frame for when it will be available, saying only that it is "early stage, but exciting"​.

The company does not break out its R&D spend in its financial results, since the funding model is complex and involves contributions from partners and governments.

But Toolan said at present around two-thirds is devoted to the functional foods arena, with the rest going towards advanced platform technology for wound care and oral care.

Since the bioactive has yet to be commercialised, the €9.47m sales (a 13 per cent increase on the same period of 2005) reported for the six months ended June 30 were of the company's m.doc wound care technology, a different application of the same cellulose fibre technology. Operating loss was reduced from €1.42m to €0.04m.

Toolan said that, in general terms, the latest results place the company in a strong position for the pending introduction of its cholesterol-lowering bioactive to the nutraceutical market.

"In terms of profitability, we have turned the corner. We are proving our commercial model and are on a sounder financial footing,"​ he said.

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