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October 1, 2013

Nutrabiotix LLC receives $2.5 million federal grant to develop Purdue-designed fiber

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., and CHICAGO - A $2.5 million federal grant will be used to further advance a patent-pending fiber designed to help people affected by irritable bowel syndrome. The fiber was developed at Purdue University's College of Agriculture and Rush University Medical Center.

Nutrabiotix LLC, based in the Purdue Research Park, is commercializing patent-pending designer fiber created by Bruce Hamaker, the Roy L. Whistler Chair in Carbohydrate Science in Purdue's Department of Food Science, and Dr. Ali Keshavarzian, the Josephine M. Dyrenfort Chairperson in Gastroenterology at Rush University Medical Center, where the fiber has undergone two human clinical trials.

Nutrabiotix has received a two-year SBIR Phase II grant worth $2.5 million from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The funding began July 1 and will conclude June 30, 2015.

Hamaker said the initial goal of the research that created the fiber was to address the problem of dietary fiber intolerance.

"Bowel intolerance is mainly caused by rapid fermentation, which occurs when bacteria extract energy from fiber," he said. "Nearly everyone is affected by intolerance, depending on the amount of fiber they digest and how rapidly it ferments."

Keshavarzian said the new fiber could promote overall health.

"The fiber is a targeted, controlled-release prebiotoic; it travels through the large intestine, including the descending colon where colon cancer, diverticulitis and ulcerative colitis commonly occur," he said. "The fiber can be designed to target different locations. This enables the bacteria in the large intestine to receive important nutrients from the fiber, which promotes overall health."

Mark D. Cisneros, Nutrabiotix president and CEO, said the grant will benefit Nutrabiotix and the general public.

"The award from this highly competitive grant process gives us a vote of confidence in our approach and certainly allows us to accelerate our strategy of launching products based on clinical evidence," he said. "The greater community benefits as well with the creation of five new jobs and the further pursuit of our vision to improve and sustain global health with innovative dietary products."

Nutrabiotix had received an SBIR Phase I grant from the NIH worth $250,000 in 2010.

A video about the Nutrabiotix fiber is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNlcDivotWg&feature=plcp 

About Nutrabiotix LLC

Nutrabiotix innovates market-ready, targeted function fiber products that promote gastrointestinal health, and aim to prevent and to treat intestinal and systemic diseases by impacting local and systemic metabolism and immunoinflammatory processes.

About Rush

Rush is a not-for-profit academic medical center comprising Rush University Medical Center, Rush University, Rush Oak Park Hospital and Rush Health.

About Purdue Research Park

The Purdue Research Park has the largest university-affiliated business incubation program in the country. The park's four Indiana sites are in West Lafayette, Indianapolis, Merrillville and New Albany. The nearly 200 companies located in the park network employ about 4,000 people. 

Writers: Andrew Gunter, Steve Martin, Hanna Pitts, Carla Smith

Purdue Research Park contact: Steve Martin, 765-588-3342, sgmartin@prf.org 

Sources: Mark D. Cisneros, 765-807-0778, mark.cisneros@nutrabiotix.com 

Bruce Hamaker, 765-494-5668, hamakerb@purdue.edu 

Dr. Ali Keshavarzian, ali_keshavarzian@rush.edu