Cognis invests in weight management and heart health

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cognis Nutrition In vivo Management

German ingredients giant, Cognis, has signed up two ingredients from its biotech partner, InterMed Discovery (IMD), that have demonstrated weight management and heart health benefits.

The ingredients are drawn from IMD’s database of 20,000 bioactives, in which Cognis took an interest in March, 2008, when it bought a share of IMD.

It licensed its first ingredient from IMD in October last year – also in the area of weight management and believed to be based on the herb schizandra or Chinese mock-braberry – bringing the total to three.

Under the licensing arrangement, Cognis is responsible for further research, formulation and other work involved in bringing the ingredient to market that is expected to take two years or more.

IMD head of business development, Erik Metz, said clinical trials on both ingredients, derived from unknown sources, are slated to begin by the end of the year, as Cognis worked on taking the ingredients “to the next level”.

“We have about 10 ingredients we are actively developing, with 30 more identified,”​ he told “Cognitive health is one area of promise and we are seeking partners in this area.”


IMD employs a bioprofiling technology it says can “correlate chemical structures with biological activity”​, and which had identified potential in the current offerings.

“Both ingredients exhibit very promising in vitro and preclinical in vivo results,”​ said Dr Sigrid Krämer, project manager for Cognis cooperation with IMD, in a statement. “Extract development has been finalised and subsequent safety studies are now under way.”

IMD managing director, Dr Thomas Henkel, added: “Working with Cognis allows our ideas to be developed into valuable innovative and proprietary active ingredients for specific applications through to market-readiness. At the moment, there are more ingredients at the exploratory stage.”

IMD receives an upfront payment plus royalties from Cognis for each ingredient it seeks to develop. The company was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.


IMD’s database consists of single compounds, extracts and blends derived from a host of plants as well as edible materials such fruits and vegetables and mushrooms.

"We have these three sub-databases of natural products and many of them are suitable for food applications,"​ Metz told in March last year. "We have also been developing compounds for three major areas: obesity, cardiovascular health and brain food and looking at food applications like sports drinks and bars as well as food supplements."

IMD was founded in a management buy-out from BayerHealthCare in 2006, and is present in the pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and nutraceuticals industries.

The company recently signed a deal with a Malaysian partner to discover and develop ingredients sourced from the jungles there.

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