The proprietary process is the brainchild of Emek Blair PhD. Blair received his doctoral training at the University of California Irvine, where the seeds of the process were sown.
“I studied lipid structures so I could figure out how to wrap lipids around enzymes so that I could study them,” Blair told NutraIngredients-USA. But Blair became more interested in the lipids themselves, and the enzyme study fell by the wayside.
“Basically the process I came up with is a copy of how the body naturally makes these lipid structures. We copied the way your body tries to absorb materials,” he said.
“When you eat something that’s fatty, what does your body do? It turns it into smaller and smaller droplets, and wraps lipids around it, and then your body is able to absorb those materials. There are issues, though, because the body can’t always get all of the raw materials together.
“We have copied that process in a controlled lab environment. My process is the only one out there there that doesn’t use higher temperatures, higher pressure or solvents,” Blair said.
The resulting liposomes that mimic the structures the body itself creates are more stable, Blair said, and they tend to end up at certain sizes. Different structures are possible using the approaches mentioned above, but they tend to have a built-in tension, according to Blair.
“My process allows nature to determine what size the liposomes are. When you do that, you get really stable liposomes. When you drop a ball, it wants to be on the ground. You always want to be at the point of lowest potential energy,” Blair said.
Blair and his partners have opened a new facility in Fort Collins, CO called Valimenta Labs that does contract manufacturing of liposomal formulations. The process has been used to encapsulate vitamin C, glutathione, curcumin and astragalus, Blair said.
One big advantage of his process, Blair said, is that it fits better into a ‘natural’ positioning.
“If you want to have a natural products in you don’t want residual solvents in there. You don’t want to ‘cook’ the natural ingredients to turn them into liposomal formulations,” he said.
Blair was quick to point out that he was not trying to run down competitors in the liposomal formulation game.
“I believe my competitors do what they do very well, but we as an industry haven’t done very well to communicate that we are not doing some sort of artificial nanotechnology. Liposomes are found in nature. They’re found in breast milk. This is just a mimic of what naturally occurs in your body already,” Blair said.