The deal between the two companies has resulted in the addition of Aker’s SuperBa omega-3 krill oil to an existing range of Sana Pharma’s food supplements – VitaePro, which also includes ingredients such as astaxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin and Vitamins C, D and E.
The reformulated product has already been debuted in northern European countries.
Aker is supplying krill to more than 20 supplements companies in the EU since the novel foods approval came through in December last year, but many of them are developing krill products for the first time and therefore have longer lead times than Sana Pharma.
According to Dr Katja Svennevig, R&D manager at Sana Pharma, the partnership, which sees SanaPharma committing to purchase 30 tonnes of SuperBa krill oil by the end of 2011, is resulting in a fusion of experience in nutraceutical and product commercialization.
But, she stresses that the deal will also broaden the scope of both companies’ research and may also help to overcome EFSA regulatory hurdles for positive health claim opinions.
“It is clear that the industry needs to cooperate to be able to build up the necessary documentation EFSA demands and to design studies that are appropriate for this process," she argues.
And Svennevig claims that industry needs to focus its research on single active ingredients instead of on product specific studies to ensure substantiation of EU health claims.
Aker BioMarine already has an ongoing research program to reveal more of the mechanisms behind the positive effects of krill oil, and the Sana Pharma R&D manager told NutraIngredients.com that if Aker’s claims were endorsed by EFSA, then VitaePro would benefit accordingly.
Aker executive vice president of sales and marketing, Matts Johansen, told this publication previously that the company has been undertaking research into krill consumption and its benefit for cardiovascular and joint health.
Other studies on brain health and the central nervous system are likely to follow, he added.“We are monitoring all the science and there is a lot of science due for publication over the next 1-2 years and this should move the situation forward for krill,” said Johansen.
Svennevig said that Sana Pharma has ongoing research into the carotenoids used in VitaePro and in near future it will undertake a study investigating the effect of astaxanthin when combined with exercise in collaboration with the Norwegian School of Sport Science.
While krill sales account for less than €20m of a global omega-3 supply market estimated by Frost & Sullivan to grow to about €1.2bn in 2014, they are growing fast.
Euromonitor International expects annual volumes to reach 17,500 tonnes in 2013, from 13,000 in 2008.
But some commentators believe the nascent category is being held back by a bitter rivalry between Aker and Neptune that has resulted in several court cases about patent and other infringements, some of which are ongoing.