Swiss food and giants drink Nestle has bought a stake in US healthcare company Accera, which makes a “brain health” milkshake for Alzheimer's patients.
Nestle, better known as the maker of Nescafe coffee and Violet Crumble chocolate bars, said in a statement the stake is a “strategic step” in building up its brain health portfolio.
Axona is a powder added to milk or other liquids to make a once-daily drink.
It is currently prescribed to 30,000 people suffering from mild to moderate Alzheimer's, Reuters reported.
Nestle did not disclose the size of the stake or how much it paid, but Dow Jones Newswires said the deal would give the Swiss group a seat on Accera’s board.
“Axona is an innovative medical food with a well understood mode of action and offers the potential for personalized nutrition for AD (Alzheimer) patients,” Nestle Health Science chief executive Luis Cantarell said in a statement.
According to the Associated Press, the Axona milkshake is sold as medical food and therefore must meet truth-in-labeling requirements, but it does not need US Food and Drug Administration approval.
Axona contains a compound made from coconut oil that provides an alternative energy source for Alzheimer’s patients, whose brains are not able to use glucose as efficiently as possible.
"We are not saying it is a cure for Alzheimer's. It has demonstrated in certain patient groups that it can be a source of energy for the brain and slow down cognitive decline," Cantarell said.
The WSJ said Accera had conducted a number of trials that had shown the product was “safe and produced significant cognitive improvements in some patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's.”
Further trials are planned.
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