DSM invests in nutrigenomics

Related tags Genetics Nutrigenomics

DSM Venturing will invest in the Connecticut, US based company
Sciona - an important player in the growing nutrigenomics field.

Sciona - which focuses on nutrition, skincare and sports and fitness - develops genetic tests that can help individuals make nutritional and lifestyle choices matched to their genetic profiles. These products also open up the opportunity for manufacturers to personalise their products.

The company's leading product - NutritionScreen, co-branded as BodyBenefits or Cellf - provides an nutritional advice based upon an individual's genetic information and his or her lifestyle.

DSM's​ aim is to become the world leader in nutritional products and hope that Sciona's activities may contribute to the realisation of that ambition.

"The human nutrition market sees a demand increase driven by health awareness, preventive treatment and the ageing population,"​ said Jan Zuidam, vice-chairman of DSM's managing board. "The rapidly progressing science of nutrigenomics is not only used to develop new nutrients and understand how they work in the human body, but is also expected to open ways for 'personalised nutrition'.This field fits perfectly with our ambition in the field of life sciences innovation."

Sciona's​ CEO Chris Martin added that the fact a "world leading food ingredient company like DSM"​ has decided to invest in his company "shows the strong belief of the industry in the future of nutrigenomics"​.

This is the tenth direct investment of DSM Venturing, whose mission is "to explore emerging markets and technologies"​ to enhace DSM's product portfolio.

In January European researchers were awarded €17.3 million to drive forward the field of nutritgenomics.

The six-year study into ways in which food and genes interact currently has 22 partners from 10 EU member states and is led by Dr Ben van Ommen of Dutch Centre for Human Nutrigenomics.

Studies of diet-gene interactions have been underway for a number of years but until now researchers have generally been limited to investigating one, or at most, a handful of genes, at any one time and single or simple groups of nutrients rather than whole foods.

However the human genome project has provided the background information and new tools that enable researchers to take a much more global perspective.

There are, however, huge challenges to be faced. Many of the technologies are relatively new and still developing or being refined and for practical and theoretical reasons, researchers are having to rethink their standard approaches. Coping with, and interpreting, the vast quantity of data generated is another other major issue. Although specialised computer tools are available more development is needed.

The new project, called NuGO, is expected to go some way towards the long-term goal of providing everyone with scientifically sound information on what they should eat so as to maintain or improve their health and prevent diseases associated with ageing such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

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