Since 2010, the two companies have been working together to advance the blood circulation improving tomato extract, Fruitflow, that won the first article 13.5 proprietary and emerging science health claim in the European Union.
Now the two will work together on the casein ingredient with products to help diabetes, obesity and heart health the key endpoints. Provexis chief executive officer Stephen Moon answered some NutraIngredients questions about the tie-in.
NI: What level of scientific substantiation already exists for the casein ingredient?
SM: “DSM has already developed an extensive body of scientific evidence and a portfolio of IP surrounding the naturally-derived protein hydrolysate. Going forward, Provexis will develop a ‘biosimilar’ product and intends to further extend and strengthen this scientific evidence with its own clinical trials. The company will then draw on the significant regulatory expertise gained from developing Fruitflow to develop a regulatory package for a major market.”
NI: What is the biological principle upon which it works?
SM: “Poor blood sugar control often results from a malfunctioning of the beta cells in the pancreas, cells whose role it is to produce insulin. These beta cells can lose their sensitivity to glucose (i.e. they no longer produce sufficient insulin in response to an increasing blood glucose level after a meal for example).”
“Importantly, these beta cells have often not lost the capacity to produce insulin in response to protein. The theory is that the administration of proteins (or protein hydrolysates) alongside a meal will result in less damaging spikes in blood glucose levels. In diabetics, it is these spikes in blood glucose levels that are associated with long term problems (i.e. the damage seen to nerves and eyesight).”
“Therefore, in pre-diabetics and the wider population, this mechanism can also offer potential benefits for blood glucose control. Protein hydrolysates (peptides) can potentially be more beneficial than proteins because they can be more readily absorbed by the human body.”
NI: Is it milk-derived?
SM: “The product we are seeking to develop further is not milk derived and we are assessing a number of protein sources for the hydrolysate.”
NI: Have Provexis’s plantain and broccoli extracts been offered to DSM as well?
SM: “Provexis is currently working on both the plantain-derived ingredient for the maintenance of periods of remission in Crohn’s disease patients and the isothiocyanate-based ingredient for the prevention of cardiovascular inflammation. We have some key scientific targets we would like to reach before we commence commercial discussions.”
In another deal last month, Provexis agreed to pay about €9m for UK sports nutrition company Science in Sports (SiS).