The program, which the company calls the ChromaDex External Research Program (CERP) has applied to Niagen (NR) and to a lesser extent other proprietary ingredients. The program began in 2013.
NR is a special form of vitamin B3. ChromaDex licensed the first patents on the ingredient from Dartmouth University in 2012.
NR is a precursor of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) which is a key part of the cell’s energy manufacturing machinery. Bolstering NAD+ levels, which naturally decline over time, has become a key part of the anti aging story at the cellular level. But the benefits of NR have been extended to other biochemical functions via CERP.
The most recent preclinical trial was published in the Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science Journal investigated the effects of NR on male rats under treatment of paclitaxel, a chemotherapy drug that can cause ocular discomfort and dry eye-like symptoms. Of note, the investigators found that NR supplementation reversed paclitaxel-induced discomfort in the cornea of rats. This milestone preclinical study joins a growing body of clinical and preclinical evidence supporting health benefits of NR supplementation.
According to ChromaDex, CERP has produced more than 45% of all peer-reviewed NR-focused publications, and 70% of the peer-reviewed clinical NR publications.
Research impetus comes from investigators themselves
The company maintains that more than 9 out of 10 of the CERP studies have been initiated by the investigators themselves and have been funded by third parties.
“Our goal through CERP is to be the industry standard for excellence in research. We are very excited about this milestone and advancing clinical and preclinical research on Niagen® in 2022,” says Dr. Yasmeen Nkrumah-Elie, PhD, who is the global director of R&D for external research for ChromaDex. “We are looking forward to advancing the science of NR through clinical translation. We hope that CERP can serve as a torch for the industry, and other companies will develop similar programs to promote the science of dietary supplements.”
“Since its inception, CERP has served as the model for industry-academia collaborative research and intellectual property generation,” says Dr. Andrew Shao PhD, who is the company’s senior vice president of global scientific and regulatory affairs.
According to ChromaDex, CERP represents an overall research value of $85 million. The program is said to have accumulated 245 collaborative agreements (MTAs) with 170 institutions in 33 countries.
After going through several market strategies and partnerships for Niagen, ChromaDex now sells the ingredient as a finished good via its TruNiagen brand.