New Jersey-based Myos Rens was built around one ingredient called Fortetropin, which is isolated from fertilized hen eggs. Myos Rens, a publicly traded company, owns patents protecting the process to make Fortetropin, as well as the registered brand name.
For years, the company has been marketing its Fortetropin supplements to the sports and bodybuilding community (humans, that is). The original idea behind the ingredient was its ability to suppress levels of myostatin, a signaling protein that restricts the amount muscles will grow as a result of a stimulus, such as resistance training.
“We were always going after the sports nutrition market because we had science in sports nutrition,” CEO Joseph Mannello told NutraIngredients-USA. A search for ‘Fortetropin’ in the research database PubMed returned one result, a 2016 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, which found that Fortetropin supplementation increased lean body mass and decreases markers of protein breakdown in mice.
On the market, Myos Rens has two products for human health (both with sports nutrition positioning) and one for canine health, which was launched in the summer of last year.
Listening to the supplement’s avid fans
Manello became the CEO of Myos Rens in 2017. Before that, he has been an investor in the company since 2012 and was chosen to be interim CEO in 2016. It was when he took the reins in 2017 that the company started exploring the pet nutrition space as part of its growth strategy.
How it began? Anecdotally, the company heard from some avid fans and users of Fortetropin supplements that they fed it to aging dogs.
“We got some feedback that their dogs, if they were older, started showing more energy, or mobility. And if they were injured, they seemed to just recover a little quicker and had a better recovery. But that was anecdotal,” Manello added.
He saw a business opportunity. Myos Canine Muscle Formula was launched in summer 2018, available on Amazon and Myospet.com. At the same time, the company wanted to build the body of research supporting the product’s benefits in dogs.
“We engaged Kansas State University to do a study on 100 dogs who had had TPLO surgery, which is similar to ACL surgery in humans,” he told us.
“That study took almost two years, 100 dogs is a lot, 50 were on Fortetropin, 50 were on a macronutrient placebo. We just announced those results and they were very positive for our product.”
The study is not yet published, but this past weekend, its lead investigator professor Kenneth R. Harkin of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University presented the results at the VMX Conference, a major show for the veterinary community.
"Restoration or maintenance of muscle mass through the reduction of myostatin levels with Fortetropin offers vets an approach to in-home rehabilitation of injured dogs, including potentially improving or restoring mobility in geriatric dogs," Professor Harkin said.
Down the pipeline
Manello said that his team is contemplating on doing a dog study focused on geriatric dogs. “We’ve seen and heard some great results [in this area], so that would just build on what we did at Kansas State,” he said.
But because of results in this study on dogs, he is interested to explore if these results will replicate in a human study, especially in terms of recovery and rehabilitation.
One currently ongoing study, a human one, is being conducted at UC Berkeley, which Manello described as the company’s “biggest and probably a very important one.”
Announced in December 2017, the study will look at Fortetropin’s effects on muscle synthesis in 60 and 70 year-olds. Results are expected for the second quarter of this year.