Collaborating for cognitive gains: DSM-Senescence link-up aims for huge public health impact

By Cheryl Tay

- Last updated on GMT

The two companies will develop new cognitive health products using Senescence's expertise in research and DSM's ingredient portfolio. ©Getty Images
The two companies will develop new cognitive health products using Senescence's expertise in research and DSM's ingredient portfolio. ©Getty Images

Related tags Cognitive health mobile apps Clinical trial

DSM has entered a regional agreement with SLS Nutraceuticals, a subsidiary of biotechnology company Senescence Life Sciences, in a bid to improve brain health across all life stages in the Asia-Pacific region.

Under the agreement, DSM will have exclusive distribution rights of SLS Nutraceuticals' supplements, Edge and Revive, and a proprietary ingredient complex, NeuroShield.

NeuroShield is said to possess a combination of effects to address cognitive performance and health, and possibly even delay cognitive decline.

The two companies will develop new products for cognitive health using Senescence's expertise in research and DSM's ingredient portfolio, as well as the latter's widespread reach and global reputation to bring the products to market across the region.

Invention, innovation, ingredients

DSM's Director of Personalised Nutrition, Carmel Power, told NutraIngredients-Asia​: "I think the real value we bring is our innovation, broad-market access and speed to market.

"We are able to take an invention created by Senescence and bring it to consumers across APAC via partnerships with brands, which will have huge health and economic implications in the region."

She added that the products developed under the partnership would depend on market needs, as well as the results of the clinical trials Senescence is set to undertake in the near future.

Senescence founder Dr Shawn Watson told NutraIngredients-Asia​: "We'll try to incorporate as many DSM ingredients as we can into the new products. Especially since it's definitely one of the most reliable suppliers in the health supplement industry.

"Our technology focuses on a mechanism in brain cells we think is the leading cause of cognitive decline, be it from stress or ageing. Right now, we're excited to make use of DSM's vitamin E products, but we will of course explore other ingredients as we go forward."

He further said that due to the importance of protecting the fats — particularly omega-3 — in human brain cells, omega-3 was one area in which Senescence hoped to cooperate with DSM, because the former's technology would "work synergistically with omega-3"​.

"It's one thing to have access to the high-quality omega-3 products DSM provides, and it's another to protect omega-3 once it's in the brain. That's where we come in, to optimise the ingredients once they're in the body."

Science-backed targets

Watson further said that while Senescence had its own proof-of-concept products, its intention "isn't so much to build our own brand as much as it is to keep pushing the science forward"​.

"We've completed a clinical trial on one of the products already, and the second one, which we are just starting, will focus on younger consumers."

He added: "DSM is a great partner for a number of reasons. One, it's very science-driven and we align well in the area of research, which helps since we are working to develop new products.

"Secondly, they have a great reach and reputation in the region, which will help get our products to more clients at a greater speed."

Under the DSM partnership, Senescence will target brain decline associated with stress, lack of sleep, and poor dietary habits, all of which have a common neuro-physiological foundation.

As such, Watson says, a stressed out brain or one lacking in sleep is very similar to an ageing brain.

"Recent studies have shown that young people who forgo a single night of sleep will start to see the formation of plaques in their brains.

"With DSM, we're trying to tackle stress, lack of sleep, and ageing, so we're looking to develop a product line that provides for all stages of life," ​he said.

He also said that while Senescence was fully responsible for research at the moment, it hoped to conduct research with DSM in future.

In addition, he revealed that the product roll-out would be matched with the goals of brands interested in working with DSM and senescence.

"For instance, if a brand is looking to introduce a product for young working professionals, it's up to them to decide on the marketing aspect while we provide the scientific solutions."

Markets and manufacturers

The collaboration has taken on a wider APAC strategy, whereby all countries in the region except China are being targeted.

Watson said, "We're targeting every country in the APAC region besides China. That's a different ballgame, but we're looking at countries like South Korea, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

"We're already selling our products in Thailand and Myanmar, so we're covering quite a diverse range of markets."

In terms of manufacturer interest, Power said there were companies that were 'excited' about the collaboration between DSM and Senescence, though she was unable to reveal the names of these companies.

"There's a huge need in the brain health area with respect to healthy ageing, but also with respect to executive performance and general cognitive health.

"It's an area of health concern for consumers and an area of economic concern in the context of healthy ageing, and companies are highly interested in innovating in this segment."

Because of this, she said, DSM was focused on a partnership strategy, both with companies like Senescence and with B2B customers.

Moving into personalisation

Power also revealed that DSM was looking for the right partner to drive its personalised nutrition business further, with neurological tests to track cognitive health a key focus in this area.

"Our key target for the collaboration with Senescence is to provide consumers with a way to take a baseline measurement of their cognitive performance in several domains, and then be able to track their progress as they use different nutritional interventions to help to improve their cognitive performance.

"The product we're launching, NeuroShield, has been clinically validated to produce certain outcomes in certain cognitive domains We're now looking to provide an app whereby consumers can take a test to track their personal progress while taking the product.

"The focus is on improving overall brain health, preventing cognitive decline and eventually, moving into personalised nutrition."

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