Accera Inc., a privately-held, commercial-stage, healthcare company focused on the discovery and development of innovative clinical applications to address acute and chronic neurodegenerative diseases, announced today a partnership with Nestlé Health Science. Although the terms of the transaction are not being disclosed, Nestlé Health Science will invest in Accera to further support clinical development and commercialization of Axona®, a prescription medical food intended for the clinical dietary management of the metabolic processes associated with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD). Luis Cantarell, President and CEO of Nestlé Health Science S.A., will join the company's board of directors.
"Nestlé Health Science's investment will enable us to make larger clinical trials and help us strengthen our commercial capabilities in the US," said Holger Kunze, president and CEO of Accera. "It will also provide an opportunity to expand the geographic footprint of Axona longer-term."
Nestlé Health Science S.A., a wholly owned subsidiary of Nestlé S.A., has been established to target a new opportunity between food and pharmaceuticals. Operational since January 2011, in conjunction with the establishment of the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences, its focus is to develop science-based personalized nutritional solutions to address chronic medical conditions such as AD, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases.
Mr. Cantarell stated, "Given Axona's proven mode of action and the significant experience of Accera's management team, I believe we can make a difference in people's lives by providing AD patients with an innovative solution. This investment is a good fit with our vision for the brain health space."
Accera has completed four clinical trials with similar compounds in elderly volunteers and in patients with memory impairment or mild-to-moderate AD. In these trials, patients with mild-to-moderate AD receiving Axona (AC-1202) for up to 90 days experienced cognitive improvement compared with placebo. These treatment effects were notably significant among patients who were not carriers of the apolipoprotein E4 allele (APOE4), a genetic risk factor associated with a higher probability of developing AD. Approximately 50 percent of individuals diagnosed with probable AD are estimated to be APOE4 negative.
Results were published in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrition & Metabolism in August 2009 in the article entitled, "Study of the ketogenic agent AC-1202 in mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial." Axona (AC-1202) is currently commercially available in the US as a prescription medical food product.