The agreement, worth at least $3.5 million, gives Thorne Research the marketing rights for Niagen for use in nutritional supplements exclusively for the direct to healthcare-practitioner channel in the US and Canada. Thorne Research will also collaborate with ChromaDex on future human clinical trials of Niagen.
“We believe Niagen is one of the most exciting new ingredients to be introduced in the nutritional supplement market in the past decade,” said Paul Jacobson, CEO of Thorne Research. “We are thrilled to be the first manufacturer in our market sector to be able to incorporate this ingredient, and we plan on having a series of first-to-market products that incorporate Niagen."
A spokesperson for Thorne Research told us that the first products would launch Q4 of 2013.
Acting at a mitochondrial level
Chromadex has been accumulating the IP surrounding nicotinamide riboside (NR) for a couple of years, having licensed patents from Cornell University, Dartmouth College, and Washington University in St Louis.
NR is a naturally occurring vitamin B3 (niacin) derivative, which is found in trace amounts in milk and other foods and is a more potent version of niacin.
The beneficial effects of NR in humans include increased fatty acid oxidation, mitochondrial activity, resistance to negative consequences of high-fat diets, protection against oxidative stress, prevention of peripheral neuropathy and blocking muscle degeneration.
"Mitochondrial energy production is critical for efficient metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, weight management, athletic performance, cardiovascular health and neuroprotection," said Robert Rountree, MD, chief medical officer of Thorne Research.
"Research has shown that oral nicotinamide riboside, a compound naturally found in the diet, can significantly optimize mitochondrial function by increasing intracellular levels of NAD+. In addition to improving the overall redox state of the cell, an increase in NAD+ results in activation of SIRT1 and PGC-1alpha, cellular proteins that play a major role in mitochondrial biogenesis, glucose regulation and protection against age-related disease.
“Studies have shown that nicotinamide riboside increases muscle endurance, protects nerve cells from injury, improves insulin sensitivity, lowers serum cholesterol and limits diet-induced obesity. Nicotinamide riboside also represents the next generation of vitamin B3, providing the benefits of niacin but without the disturbing flush that impairs patient compliance."