Life science and pharma companies forge naturals alliance

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Natural products, Clinical trial

Tapping into the big trend for natural-based cosmetic and health
products, two contract research organizations - US-based Santerra
Pharmaceuticals and India-based Vedic Lifesciences - have formed an
alliance to expand into the growing market in North America.

The two companies say they will be working together to provide critical skills, resources, and turnkey benefits in research and development, with a specific focus on safety studies, laboratory and clinical studies.

"Companies that market natural products distinguish themselves from the competition through scientific excellence and by establishing the benefits and safety of their products in clinical trials,"​ said Mark Miller, head of the Scientific Advisory Board for Santerra Pharmaceuticals.

The companies say they are intending to work towards having the results of their studies widely published in an effort to draw attention to the work they are carrying out.

"Delivery of material in a scientifically rigorous manner to publications of these studies in peer review journals works to establish the credibility of these approaches among consumers and healthcare providers,"​ Miller added.

The companies will be collaborating on safety and toxicity studies, laboratory investigation and double blind controlled trials that they claim will provide value for natural product companies, including those working on cosmetic, cosmeceutical and nutraceutical products.

"Because costs are a major issue for natural products companies, performing studies in India bring inherent cost benefits,"​ said Jayesh Chaudhary, CEO of Vedic Lifesciences. "The turnkey approach allows for a seamless connection between R&D and effective marketing."

Vedic says that all clinical trial projects will be conducted to ICH-DCP standards, which means that it is also open to external audits. It also claims to already have a number of studies concerning arthritis and joint health that form examples of this transparency.

Paul Bobrowski, founder and manager of Santerra Pharmaceuticals, said: "This alliance enables natural products companies to gain pre-clinical and clinical data to enhance market penetration when previously they may have thought these services were beyond the reach of their budget."

Huge consumer interest in natural-based products forms the basis for this alliance, which in turn will help feed the hugely increased demand for reseach and development resources that specifically cater to the naturals market.

While the cosmetics and toiletries sectors is expected to grow by around only 1 per cent a year through 2009, Euromonitor draws on figures from TNS Media Intelligence/CRM, which predicts that the annual growth rate for natural organic skin care, hair care and color cosmetics markets in the US to be around 9 percent between 2003 and 2008, increasing in value from $3.9 billion to $5.8 billion.

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