Impact Study - Alimentary Health - UCC

Alimentary Health: A culture of patent development

Alimentary Health, a global leader in the development and commercialisation of technologies for gastrointestinal disorders, launched its new precision biotic product Alflorex in Ireland in 2014, based on a licence from University College Cork (UCC).

In March 2015 Alflorex was awarded Best Irish Pharmacy Product for 2015. The company has also been shortlisted in the SME/ Start-up category for the US-Ireland Research Innovation Awards which was announced in the Irish Times in March 2015.

Alimentary Health co-founder and CEO Dr. Barry Kiely said: “Alimentary Health’s new and breakthrough scientific research is recognised around the world as being at the cutting edge of discovery and application of targeted strains delivering the benefit where it is needed.”

Alflorex is rooted in the science of a patented and well-documented probiotic culture Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 (B. infantis 35624), first discovered in research labs at UCC during the 1990s. This technology was part of a portfolio spun out of UCC by the founders in 1999 into Alimentary Health Ltd. This spin-out process was supported by both Enterprise Ireland and the UCC Industry Liaison Office, which provided advice on licensing and technology, the incorporation of the company and managing the internal approval process for the company to spin out. Subsequently Alimentary Health became a founding member of the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC), a Science Foundation Ireland research centre based at UCC, which has received global recognition as one of the world’s leading institutions in probiotic research.

Alimentary Health has had significant commercial success in global markets. In 2005 the company sub-licensed the B. infantis 35624 to Procter & Gamble (P&G), which today markets the strain under the brand name Align in the United States and Canada. In a product survey in 2012 Align was rated the No. 1 Gastroenterologist Recommended Probiotic in the US.

Alimentary Health has worked closely with the UCC Technology Transfer Office since the office was established in 2007, including the exploration of further licensing opportunities based on technologies emanating from APC. The company has also availed of GatewayUCC incubator space during this time.

“This is an excellent example of an indigenous Irish company competing in global markets, having commercialised world-class research from an Irish university,” said Dr. Tim Roche, technology transfer director at UCC. “As a founding member of APC, Alimentary Health has played a key role in commercialising the research undertaken in the Centre.”