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Dutch start-up secures funding for egg lutein and peptide R&D

By Shane Starling , 11-Jan-2012
Last updated on 12-Jan-2012 at 17:57 GMT

Dutch firm Newtricious has won undisclosed funding from a local investment consortium that will advance its egg-focused R&D to drive products to shelves in, “two to three years”.

Newtricious is an agro-food spin-off that reached the point where its European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)-minded R&D programme exhausted its seed funding, leading to the investment commitment from Brabant Life Sciences Seed Fund (BLSF), the Industry Bank LIOF, Nedermaas Hightech Ventures and the innovation fund of the Limburg province.

The company has two main offerings: Lutein-enhanced egg yolks targeting the eye issue, age-related, macular degeneration (AMD), for which an egg yolk-based dairy drink template has been produced, along with a powdered version.

Egg white peptides for cardiovascular and diabetic benefits are less advanced on the R&D curve.

Chief business officer, Paul Jonker, told NutraIngredients the marigold-derived, lutein-enhanced egg yolks was the most advanced with a human, clinical trial completed and being analysed and another about to get underway.

Jonker said this data may not be made available for immediate peer review because the company would likely in 2013-14 submit an article 13.5 proprietary data claim for the lutein-egg yolks to European Union nutrition and health claims process (NHCR), a regulation it said had guided its R&D activities since company conception in 2006.

“We are going for the 13.5 AMD claim so we are likely to try and protect this data,” he said of the area that has already been controversially rejected by EFSA’s health claims panel, despite the existence of lutein-based AMD claims in EU member states like France.

“We have very closely observed the regulation, it has guided our development in every way and we are confident we can win a claim when the research is completed and we make our dossier. Of course any company working in this area should be concerned about EFSA, but we think the regulation, while stringent, is fair.”

“We are confident we can complete a dossier that will be compliant with the requirements.”

Newtricious’ lutein offering was differentiated due to the egg yolk carrier which had been backed in Tufts University research to deliver better bioavailability (J. Nutr. 134: 1887–1893, 2004), he said.

Fresh funds

Jonker said the investment had come from a region of the Netherlands where there exist institutes that have been investigating and investing in the “interface between health and food”.

Newtricious will next week open an office close to the source of its new investment area where it has access to the R&D activities and business resources.

The fresh investment also includes credit lines with an investment agency of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation and Rabobank Venray.

In a statement the founder and CEO of BLSF said: “Newtricious is a company that shows in its strategy how one can develop true added value in the agro-food industry. It is a company that undertakes the development of functional foods in an energetic and responsible manner. The company has the management team that has the right expertise to do the right things on the interface between food and pharma.”

Newtricious founder and CEO Jos Nelissen added the funding, “gives us the financial room and the possibilities to accelerate the realization of our innovative development strategy, and to bring our products to the market in collaboration with commercial partners – in order to make them rapidly available for consumers worldwide.”

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