Along with Cognis, Lipid Nutrition and PharmaNutrients were both granted licenses to the WARF (Wisconsun Alumni Research Foundation) patent for use of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) in weight management.
Lipid Nutrition marketing manager John Kurstjens told NutraIngredients.com that his company was already the dominant player in the market place with its Clarinol brand, and it still will be.
The company said in a statement that the integration of Clarinol and PharmaNutrient's CLA One brand under one global supplier is beneficial to all customers. But it is not yet clear precisely how the company will manage the brands going forward - whether they will remain discrete or be united under the same name.
"We need to evaluate the brand value and assess the needs of the customers," said Kurstjens.
Although Lipid Nutrition has had a presence in the US market, Clarinol is particularly recognised in Europe. CLA One is also a global brand, but its main market has been the US.
In the US, both companies have warehouse and customer support facilities in the Chicago area, and it is not expected that customers there will experience any changes in supply.
In Europe, however, CLA One customers should see a reduction in delivery times as Lipid Nutrition's processing facility is located in The Netherlands.
Lipid Nutrition does not report its financial results, and Kurstjens was unable to tell NutraIngredients-USA.com how much of its sales are derived from CLA. But he did say that it is its "certainly one of [its] most important products.
Lipid Nutrition's competitive advantage in CLA has been helped by its composition patent, which was granted in Europe in July 2001. Three months prior to being granted it had already been opposed, but the patent office's opposition division concluded that its patent was novel and inventive after minor amendment.
Cognis appealed this decision, however, and Lipid Nutrition only became sure that the patent would remain in force in late 2004, following a decision by the Board of Appeal.
Lipid Nutrition's other branded products are: Safflorin for immune health; Marinol DHA/EPA for cardiovascular health and infant nutrition; Metapol for infant nutrition; Membrinol soybean lecithin for cardiovascular health and memory; and Pinnotin, an appetite suppressant from Korean pine nut.
As for PharmaNutrients, president Mark Nottoli told NutraIngredients-USA.com: "It's not that I don't believe in CLA - I do - but we see more opportunities in areas where we can be proprietary," said Nottoli.
He said that the company has some proprietary positions in other indications - inflammation, diabetes and cardiovascular health.
The company's new offerings are not yet ready to be released onto the market, however, and no announcements are expected in the immediate future. In the meantime, its core product is its Absorbitol-branded chitosan.
PharmaNutrients says it was the first company to bring a branded CLA product to market with Tonalin CLA, which it subsequently sold to Cognis. When it developed CLA One DG this was billed as a more effective CLA product enhanced by a diglyceride mechanism.
It announced last August that it had added another patent to its intellectual property store, on the use of CLA One to prevent or minimize the onset of stress catabolic response in patients who have undergone surgery or suffer from auto-immune disorders and infections.
In February 2005 it filed its first structure-function claims for the body composition benefits of CLA One, and was granted a patent for its combination of CLA with glucosamine and ascorbic acid, used to address inflammation-related disorders.