CLA - conjugatic linoleic acid - is a fatty acid found primarily in milk, beef, and dairy products. It is best known in the food and supplements market for its effects on body composition, but animal studies have also yielded positive results on its potential to reverse the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. Owned by the Wistar Institute, the patent, entitled "Use of CLA for the treatment of atherosclerotic plaque reduction" was invented by the late Dr David Kritchevsky, Caspar Wistar Scholar at the institute. It covers all market segments including food, dietary supplements and pharmaceutical preparations. The licensing to PharmaNutrients is a positive sign towards a new application area for CLA in the marketplace. However the company's current focus is on finding a pharmaceutical partner to work on the next stage of research. Company president Mark Nottoli told NutraIngredients-USA.com that company is particularly keen on develop a product along the prescription nutrient drug model, rather like Reliant Pharmaceuticals Omacor omega-3, which is the billed as the only FDA-approved omega-3. However supplement and food products may well be developed in parallel. Nottoli said that the benefit of a having pharmaceutical partner on board would that they can bring resources to the plate to take the science to the next level. So far CLA has been seen to prevent and dramatically reduce arterial plaque in animal models - a use that has been "well established" in scientific literature. The next stage is human trials, and Nottoli said subject to these the first products are probably one to two years from market. Dr Dwight Lundell, a cardiac surgeon, expressed enthusiasm for the potential embodied in the patent. "With a well-established safety profile, I am anxious to see human work proceed on CLA administered alone, in combination with an omega-3 or in combination with a statin," he said. IOI-Loders Croklaan division Lipid Nutrition has strengthened its position in the world CLA market with the acquisition of PharmaNutrients' CLA One business. Along with Cognis and Lipid Nutrition, PharmaNutrients was granted a license to the WARF (Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation) patent for use of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) in weight management. In early 2006 PharmaNutrients sold its CLA One business to Lipid Nutrition. Nottoli told NutraIngredients-USA.com at the time: "It's not that I don't believe in CLA - I do - but we see more opportunities in areas where we can be proprietary." Now he envisages that PharmaNutrients could even bring to market a dual-use product that uses both the Kritchevsky patent and the WARF patents on body composition. For Nottoli, the patent license is something of a fulfilment of a personal quest. "Since I introduced CLA to the market in 1994, PharmaNutrients has pursued heart-benefit applications. I am personally excited that we have taken this important step towards helping millions improve their lives," he said. Altherosclerosis, an inflammatory disorder whereby fatty substances such as cholesterol and calcium form plaque on the inner lining of an artery, is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. reportedly affects one in four people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. According to Dr Lundell, there is certainly scope for a physiological approach to combating atherosclerosis. Narrowly targeted agents like torcetrapbip, AGI-1067, Ly518674 and ACET inhibitors have limited effect on plaque regression, and physical methods such as stents and cardiac bypass surgery have limitations and are expensive.