The Irish biotech said today that it is in late-stage negotiation with a North American cardiovascular health specialist, a partner for one of the combination trials conducted last year. The agreement would establish the technology and a business development alliance to enter the global nutrition market.
The trials involved the use of the bioactive - yet to be formally named - in combination with other cholesterol-lowering approaches. Positive results have been reported with plant sterols and statin drugs, and a third trial with omega-3 has also been taking place.
Alltracel is known to have been in discussions with multinationals over the commercialisation of its technology in Europe, the US and Asia since at least last April.
In November marketing manager Noel Toolan told NutraIngredients.com that commercialisation efforts had received a major boost from the successful development of a soluble form of the bioactive.
Developing a soluble version of the bioactive has been a goal for Alltracel from the beginning, since it sees beverages as the most attractive sector of the functional food market.
Toolan cited single-dose drinks as "probably the most active single segment in Asia and Europe", and said "the really specialist breakthrough products are in a beverage format."
"Often a very early question from food companies is 'Are you soluble?'. If you are not, it is often a disadvantage."
According to a new report from Business Insights, the total Europe and US market for heart health food and drinks was US$5.4bn (€4.1bn) in 2005, with a 2010 prediction of $7.4bn ($5.6bn). The comparable figures for heart health pharmaceuticals are $84bn (€64.8bn) and $105bn (€80.8bn) respectively.Alltracel will release its formal full year preliminary results in early April. CEO Tony Richardson said: "Subject to final confirmation and audit we remain comfortable with analysts' expectations of the business reaching full year profitability for the year 2006." Other strings to the biotech business are in the fields of wound care and oral care.