ChromaDex Sr VP: ‘We’re happy for our external research program to serve as a model for industry’

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Chromadex Nicotinamide riboside Intellectual property R&D

As the ChromaDex External Research Program passes a significant milestone with 250 material transfer agreements (MTAs), are there lessons for the rest of the industry to learn about building out R&D programs?

The MTA program was established in 2013 by ChromaDex’s co-founder Frank Jaksch and became the ChromaDex External Research Program (CERP) in 2019. Over the years, the program has grown to 235 independent scientists, doctors, and investigators across 182 institutions and 33 countries. This has led to over 250 MTAs using various ChromaDex materials, most notably the company’s Niagen-branded nicotinamide riboside ingredient.

Nicotinamide riboside (NR) is an efficient precursor for the essential cellular coenzyme, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) with implications across a range of endpoints, including cellular health, cellular energy, heart health, muscle health, and brain health.

“CERP is an important component of ChromaDex’s philanthropy. Our internal multidisciplinary and cross-functional scientists are not only providing high-quality material for research, but also creating community and multidimensional support for the investigators in our program,”​ said Dr. Yasmeen Nkrumah-Elie, Global Director of Research and Development for External Research at ChromaDex.

“Our goal is to set the standard for excellence in industry-academic relationships and collaborations, and the metrics from our program are demonstrating that we are achieving this goal.”

“We do believe this could be replicated”

Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA, Dr. Andrew Shao, ChromaDex Senior Vice President of Global Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, explained: “We are not aware of anyone else in the industry of our size that has a branded external research program in the way we do​.

“We’re happy to serve as a model for the industry. We do believe this could be replicated. It takes quite an investment, however, and a lot of foresight.”

As of today, the company has donated almost $2 million worth of Niagen to researchers around the world for various scientific projects, most of which are funded by third parties and not by ChromaDex.

“One area that we have developed with CERP is helping in the development of intellectual property,” ​said Dr Shao. “One of the things we do is provide the test material to the investigators at no cost in exchange for getting access to intellectual property that may be generated as a result of the research. So, there is a business benefit there in addition to furthering the research into nicotinamide riboside and NAD.”

Watch the full interview with Dr Shao above.

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