Innexus Nutraceuticals, based in the Netherlands, has landed a distribution deal with IMCD, a global player in sales, marketing and distribution of specialty chemicals and food ingredients. The partnership will focus on reaching European supplement manufacturers, excluding Scandinavia, for Innexus’ palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) ingredient. “OptiPEA is a viable alternative to cannabidiol (CBD) products, as there are no regulatory issues and it is easier to formulate,” Samuel Zonneveld, Innexus CEO tells.
PEA is a naturally occurring bioactive lipid that eases pain and inflammation and can return various kinds of body cells to their healthy state of functioning. OptiPEA is produced from palmitic acid using a patented Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) production processes.
“The product was launched in 2016 and it is a good alternative to CBD and hemp products which are now trending [on the market],” Zonneveld says. “The issue with hemp products is that there have been several research reports that note on the quality of CBD products. It was discovered that the majority of the CBD products do not meet their label claims and contain either too low, too high or no CBD at all.”
The CBD market has seen a boom in NDP despite certain regulatory hurdles. Innova Market Insights data reveal that of the global food and beverages and supplement product launches featuring CBD in 2018, the US accounts for 76 percent of launches. In Europe, CBD and hemp regulatory developments are still unfolding.
“On the regulatory status front, CBD will be classified as a novel food in the EU, according to the latest developments, which means that it is going to be regulated by the local authorities and that CBD products may be pulled off the market,” Zonneveld says.
“OptiPEA is a viable alternative to CBD. This is because PEA is a single molecule so it doesn’t have the complexity of hemp extract, which makes it easier to control quality-wise and easier in determining dosage.”
PEA also has a broader effect through several different mechanisms of action. It hits different molecular targets at the same time which makes more effective in relieving pain, according to Zonneveld. “Dosages are more transparent and better established, as the ingredient has been known for almost 60 years and there are hundreds of studies on it. The data out there is already quite extensive,” he says.
Targeted uses and applications
OptiPEA is mostly used to tackle chronic pain and can also be used as a complementary strategy to medical treatments. Recently, publications have come out that support its use in mood disorders, depression and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, according to Zonneveld.
“It influences the central nervous system and also has an effect on the immune system,” he says.
OptiPEA’s applications mostly include capsules, but the ingredient also comes in a water-soluble version and is suitable for powder products too.
Trends and growth
According to Zonneveld, chronic pain management and opioid abuse are becoming increasingly problematic, despite hemp and CBD products’ popularity. Consumers demand sustainability and a transparent supply chain, as well as ingredients that are branded and thought of as trusted.
“Sustainability and transparency are the most trending consumer topics. OptiPEA offers companies the opportunity to capitalize on these aspects with one product. At Innexus, we have the only PEA manufactured entirely in Europe which offers our clients increased traceability and transparency,” he explains.
The company’s distribution agreement with IMCD expands Innexus’ reach and offers a much wider customer base. “We are available globally and we have established the IMCD distribution is a good opportunity for us because they have an extensive distribution and partner network,” Zonneveld says.
“The availability of IMCD’s sales capacity, technical support and distribution network will be the next big step for OptiPEA. Choosing IMCD over other distributors was an easy choice for us as IMCD has a clear vision and method of adding extra value to our ingredient,” he adds.
“Selecting innovative specialty ingredients is at the core of IMCD’s strategy and that is why we are very pleased to add OptiPEA to our portfolio,” says Cameron Richardson, IMCD Nutraceuticals Market Manager.
“Innexus has taken extra steps to develop a PEA product with unique features. When everyone else was focusing on CBD, we had a clear vision for OptiPEA as a viable alternative from a scientific and regulatory perspective,” he notes.
OptiPEA, will be showcased at IMCD’s booth at Vitafoods Europe 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland (7-9 May).