Danone and Micropharma form $8m partnership to develop heart health products

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Yoghurt

Danone Research has reached a partnership agreement worth $8m with Canadian biological science firm Micropharma to develop reduced cholesterol products linked to heart health.

The companies hope to produce an innovative new form of probiotic dairy product set to break the mould of current offerings on the market.

Anne-Julie Maltais, the spokesperson for Danone in Canada, told Nutraingredients-usa.com about the company’s growing interest in cardiovascular health.

This partnership is in line with our research strategy in the cardiovascular field,” ​she said. ​“It is in our mission to collaborate closely with the best researchers in the fields that interest us.”

Representatives from each company will work closely to develop a new dairy product which will seek to go beyond the current range of probiotic dairy products available in shops.

“Existing probiotic dairy products help to maintain the body’s natural and healthy balance. Future dairy products will focus on ensuring this balance addresses heart health issues. Probiotics in milk and dairy make sense for maintaining healthy blood lipids,” ​said Danone’s spokesperson.

With a 1,200 strong global R&D team, Danone said it will collaborate very closely with Micropharma scientists to produce a marketable dairy product to balance bacteria in the gut.

Dr. Christopher Wahl, director of business development at Micropharma, said: “Consumers need to understand that to avoid disease it is essential to maintain the natural balance of bacteria in their gut and this understanding has to be as common as putting on sunscreen in the morning to protect your skin.”

Although she described Micropharma as a “young company,”​ Maltais spoke of the biological firm’s expertise in cardiovascular health.

Separate Patent

The Canadian business also holds patented technology in cardiovascular health called Cardioviva, a probiotic for lowering LDL-C (low density lipoprotein cholesterol or ‘bad cholesterol’).

Cardioviva is said to be the world’s first disease specific probiotic and can be taken as a supplement or added to food products. Micropharma plans to launch this product as a dietary supplement in Canada and the United States in 2011 and pointed out that their work with Danone is not necessarily related to the patent.

Ryan Elliot Jones, president and chief executive officer of Micropharma, hoped the new partnership would help the company “secure new partnerships and patents, and increase our emphasis on product and business development”.

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