The pTeroPure ingredient was a key early driver in ChromaDex’s strategic shift away from being strictly and analytical chemistry company toward becoming also an ingredient developer. ChormaDex developed pTeroPure, a nature-identical synthetic pterostilbene ingredient, over a period of years and debuted it with a significant amount of fanfare in 2010, when it was named by Frost & Sullivan as the most promising new ingredient of that year.
Pterostilbene is chemically related to resveratrol, and reports indicate its promise for improving cardiovascular health, glucose levels, and cognitive function. ChromaDex also notes the ingredient has potential a sports nutrition application in that it promotes nitric oxide synthesis and may aid in recovery and more recently has been positioning the ingredient in skin care.
Pterostilbene is very similar to resveratrol, but the former reportedly has the advantage of metabolizing at a slower rate in the body giving it more opportunity to be absorbed into the blood stream. ChromaDex has licensed patents related to cholesterol control, diabetes, and oxidative stress.
In an effort to boost market uptake of the ingredient, ChromaDex launched a direct-to-consumer dietary supplement product line called BluScience. NeutriSci, based in Vancouver, BC, acquired the line in 2013 in a deal that involved a share swap, shares for which ChormaDex was eventually paid $750,000. ChromaDex retained rights to the ingredient.
Shift toward Niagen
But in a recent earnings call with analysts, ChromaDex CEO Frank Jaksch said that pTeroPure has a bigger opportunity in personal care products rather than as an ingredient in ingestibles, and in any case the company was shifting focus to its more recently developed ingredient Niagen, a branded form of nicotinamide riboside, which is a form of vitamin B3.
“We have been saying for the past couple of years that the best of pterostilbene is really going to come more out of the potential skin care opportunities and there is a lot of benefits in skin care. And that definitely on a business development standpoint is where we are spending a lot of time. But from a research standpoint, the limited budget that we have, a majority of our budget right now is actually going into Niagen because it is a more sizable opportunity,” Jaksch said in the call that was posted in transcript form on the site seekingalpha.com.
In its most recent annual report, NeutriSci detailed its difficult history with BluScience. The company wrote down $2.3 million in BluScience inventory in 2014 and another $1.2 million in 2015. The company is now putting all of its eggs into the NeuEnergy basket, which is a tablet energy product marketed toward healthy on-the-go consumers, and to that end has entered into to an agreement with Venture Communications to develop a marketing strategy for NeuEnergy. It also signed a deal with Canadian distributor Wallace & Carrey and announced placement of the product into 7 Eleven stores in Canada.