Nestlé Health Science has acquired a stake in Accera, a privately-held US-based company, which specializes in the research, development and commercialization of medical foods for neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s which affects more than 30 million people worldwide.
Accera’s key brand Axona, a medical food which is already on the market in the USA, is intended for the clinical dietary management of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
“Our stake in Accera is a strategic step forward in building up our brain health portfolio,” said Nestlé Health Science President and CEO Luis Cantarell.
“Axona is an innovative medical food with a well understood mode of action and offers the potential for personalized nutrition for AD patients,” he added.
Axona’s mechanism of action
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common adult form of dementia and results in chronic and irreversible cognitive impairment. As AD progresses, the brain becomes less able to use glucose for the energy it needs.
Accera’s ongoing clinical trials show that Axona is metabolized by the liver to produce ketone bodies, which are naturally occurring compounds the brain can use as an alternative energy source.
This results in improved memory and cognitive function in mild to moderate AD patients.
Axona is already on the market in the US, prescribed to up to 30,000 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.
Nestlé has many years of experience researching the relationship between nutrition and cognitive function. It is critical that new solutions are found to manage cognitive decline, a major challenge in the public health arena, and Nestlé Health Science is well placed to contribute to this effort.
The investment in Accera by Nestlé Health Science will allow the collection of more extensive clinical data to support existing research into Axona.
“Nestlé Health Science’s investment will enable us to expand our clinical development programme and strengthen our commercial capabilities in the US,” said Accera’s President and CEO Holger Kunze.
“Longer term, it will also give us the opportunity to enlarge the geographic footprint of Axona.”
Nestlé Health Science, a fully owned subsidiary of Nestlé, aims to pioneer a new industry between the traditional nutrition and pharmaceutical industries through the development of science-based personalized nutritional solutions and shaping a new approach to disease prevention and management.
The decision to take a stake in Accera fits the strategic roadmap set out when Nestlé Health Science was created at the start of 2011.
Building on its core HealthCare Nutrition business, Nestlé Health Science has ambitions to address chronic conditions in the area of Gastrointestinal Health, Metabolic Health and Brain Health.
Nestlé Health Science has made several acquisitions and investments, which fit its strategic ambitions:
• Vitaflo, a provider of clinical nutritional solutions for infants, children and adults with genetic disorders that affect how food is processed by the body.
• CM&D Pharma Ltd., a company that specializes in the development of products for patients with chronic conditions like chronic kidney disease.
• Prometheus Laboratories, a US firm specializing in diagnostics and licensed speciality pharmaceuticals in GI and oncology.
• Vital Foods, a minority stake in a New Zealand based company that specializes in the development of kiwifruit-based solutions for gastrointestinal conditions.
Nestlé’s venture capital fund Inventages has been supporting Accera since 2004 and has a seat on its board. As part of the transaction Nestlé Health Science will also take a seat on the board.
The terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.