New partnership to distribute K2

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Osteoporosis

Norwegian raw material supplier NattoPharma has agreed a distribution agreement with Italian biotechnology company Gnosis to market and sell its natural vitamin K2 product under Natto’s brand MenaQ7 into the European food supplement market.

NattoPharma’s CEO, president and co-founder, Morten Sundstø, told “We see MenaQ7 now going from being a stand-alone vitamin K2 product going into segments like women’s heath products and men’s health products. We see it in combination with calcium and vitamin D, and also different fish oil products. Also, in 2011 we believe we will have the first food products in the market, and we see that the diary market will probably be the innovators​.”

The exclusive partnership agreement between the Lysaker-based company and Gnosis, headquartered in Desio, Italy, covers vitamin K2 products produced at its GMP certified Swiss manufacturing facility.

MenaQ7 provides natural vitamin K2 as a fermentation extract whereby vitamin K2 is manufactured using bascillus subtilis natto.

Beyond bone

Sundstø is upbeat about the market potential for his company’s product and pointed to research linking it with cardiovascular, cancer and osteoporosis benefits.

At the moment the market is focusing on the bone health market, but we believe that the next wave will be focusing on calcification of the arteries​,” said Sundstø.

Childhood vitamin K2 consumption can increase potential peak bone mass and, in later life, prevent calcification of arteries, further research has found.

NattoPharma claims to command up to 75 per cent of the global vitamin K2 market and the most robust scientific substantiation.

Regulatory approvals

Explaining the strategic significance of the partnership, Sundstø said it was important to secure supplies of vitamin K2 particularly with the high level of investment necessary for product development. About 35 per cent of the product cost arises from research and development and investment in seeking regulatory approvals. “For example, we are the only company that has Novel Food approval from EFSA ​(European Food Safety Authority) in the EU​,” he said.

Gnosis’s CEO, Renzo Berna said: “We are very pleased to enter into a close partnership with NattoPharma, the first company to introduce natural vitamin K2 into the active ingredient market. When we now unite our forces we will be able to develop and utilize the potential in the market at a faster pace​.”

Until the agreement takes effect in late June 2010, NattoPharma’s supplier will remain Sumitomo Corporation.

The distribution agreement also covers the sale of MenaQ7 into the global fortified food and animal nutrition market.

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