Best of 2011 Ingredient Supplier: ChromaDex

There has been a lot of buzz this year surrounding ChromaDex’s pTeroPure—an ultrapure, nature-identical formulation of pterostilbene, which in nature is a naturally occurring polyphenol found in blueberries. According to the company, studies have shown that pterostilbene supports antiaging and heart health, reducing oxidative stress, and memory benefits.

As ChromaDex’s first ingredient to be marketed, pTeroPure has had much success. The branded ingredient is self-affirmed GRAS and is currently undergoing its first human trial at the University of Mississippi to evaluate effects in patients with lipid or cholesterol disorders. Results will be published sometime next year. The ingredient is also being studied by the University of California, Irvine, as a potential treatment for melanomas and other skin cancers when used in a skincare product.

pTeroPure has also been used in more than 20 nutraceutical supplements, including products by Douglas Laboratories, Jarrow Formulas, and Life Extension. Organic Revolution is also incorporating pTeroPure in its organic food products.

“Launching pTeroPure has finally been a culmination of many years of gathering information and licensing technology from two prestigious groups—the USDA and the University of Mississippi,” says Frank Jaksch, CEO and founder, ChromaDex.

ChromaDex has been granted the exclusive worldwide rights to several patents surrounding pTeroPure’s use, the company says. These include patent rights from the University of Mississippi to a potentially new therapeutic use as an anxiolytic or anti-anxiety agent. ChromaDex already has another licensing agreement, in place since 2010, with the university and the USDA Agricultural Research Service to commercially develop pTeroPure pterostilbene for the nutraceutical market.

“We get excited about licensing intellectual property and using it to create a marketable product, and we’ve built a solid reputation on leading through science,” Jaksch adds.

Jaksch says ChromaDex will be taking a similar path to launch other proprietary, novel ingredients over the next few years from licensed technologies. Bringing pTeroPure to market was the first stage in a new paradigm for the company.

Licensing is a business strategy working well for ChromaDex. “There is a lot of great research out there being done by government agencies, universities, and research institutes. Our specialty lies in forming strategic licensing partnerships to successfully bring this research to market as a commercial solution,” explains Jaksch. “Besides the business side of licensing, we understand the value of the research and its potential. Plus, we also have a good feel for knowing which patents or technologies to go after.”

ChromaDex has had 12 years of experience in natural products chemistry. Its background lies in supplying botanical reference standards that are used by many companies to maintain a high level of quality control. The company says it has the formulation expertise to sort through all the current and ongoing research to find the most valuable partnerships.

Jaksch says the company’s choices about which technologies to license are never random. “We always have a certain level of understanding of what we’re licensing. Often, the research we find is something our chemists have already been working on. When someone else’s research validates what we had already suspected about a particular ingredient and its uses, then that’s the perfect fit for us.”

Transferring that knowledge into production of an actual product is another process entirely, which requires ChromaDex’s marketing and R&D expertise. “We spend a lot of time in our lab focused on clinical studies, establishing what represents a therapeutically effective dose and a safe dose, as well as deciding the best product for an ingredient to go into,” says Jaksch. “We may also need to find a new production route or experiment with an ingredient and its chemistry to overcome any cost issues. If it’s too expensive, it can’t be marketed.”

ChromaDex has evolved a great deal, and Jaksch is proud of the company’s recent accomplishments. “I’m pleased we finally grew to the point I envisioned 12 years ago. Our employees have been a critical factor in helping to achieve that vision and for the company to rise to this level of success,” he says.