Nestlé expands medical nutrition business with Zenpep acquisition

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / Choreograph
© Getty Images / Choreograph

Related tags: Nestlé health science, Medical nutrition

In a bid to progress its medical nutrition business and evolve its range of therapeutic nutritional healthcare products, Nestlé has acquired one of Allergan’s key gastroenterology-focused solutions, Zenpep.

Medical nutrition expansion

Commenting on why medical nutrition is a core area of interest and growth for Nestlé, a spokesperson for the company confirmed that “medical nutrition is the original foundation of our business and it continues to be important to us in our markets around the world”​.

Sharing how the recent acquisition of Zenpep supports this position, the spokesperson continued: Zenpep is “aligned with NHSc's approach of empowering healthier lives through nutrition and assuring optimal nutritional support across the spectrum: ingestion, digestion and absorption.”

As Nestlé highlighted that “Zenpep addresses macronutrient absorption for people who have certain pancreatic disorders”​, we then asked the company’s spokesperson what its plans within the medical nutrition sphere are looking into the near future. The company will be focusing on “new developments and innovations”​.

Nestlé’s spokesperson went on to say that while it “can’t go into specifics about any plans” ​it “can say that medical nutrition will continue to be strategically important”.

Details of the deal

With 2018 net sales of $237 million, Nestlé Health Science’s CEO, Greg Behar, explained that the company’s acquisition of Zenpep is “a strategic decision”​ that will enhance the company’s “growing medical nutrition portfolio”​.

Adding to Nestlé’s existing range of nutrition products that support food ingestion, digestion and absorption, Behar added that the company’s “extensive experience in Zenpep's therapeutic areas of digestive diseases”​ through its medical nutrition business will help to leverage its appeal with consumers.

The finalization of the deal is expected to take place alongside the merger of current Zenpep-owners Allergan and biopharmaceutical company, AbbVie. Upon the completion of the merger and closing of the transaction, Nestlé is anticipated to take ownership of Zenpep.

Sharing insights on a core aim of the medical nutrition arm of the business, Anna Mohl, Business Executive Officer of Nestlé Health Science USA, added: "Within our medical nutrition business, we work directly with healthcare professionals to educate them about our products that are used in hospitals, home healthcare, and clinics.”​ The company will now embark on leveraging its capabilities to “drive rapid growth of this new acquisition”,​ Mohl added.

Digestion medication

Zenpep is a medication given to people who are unable to digest food properly because their pancreas does not provide enough enzymes to break down fat, protein and carbohydrates.

Known as a condition called Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI), Zenpep is part of the Pancreatic Enzyme Replacement Therapies (PERTs) area of medicine. The gastrointestinal medication contains a mixture of digestive enzymes including lipases, proteases and amylases that help the body use essential macronutrients from food.

Patients with EPI are typically required to take PERTs at every meal or snack to make sure they get the sufficient absorption of nutrients. If PERTs are not taken regularly, people with EPI may risk malnourishment, underweight or experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms, Nestlé revealed.

Company-wide innovation

Nestlé recently announced it will steer its innovation efforts and investment plans towards the Latin American market over the coming years to support food, nutrition and health in Mexico.

While currently unclear if and how big a part medical nutrition will play here, Nestlé is progressing its investment plans to support nutrition, food and health in Mexico, It aims to do this by centering its innovation commitment on its production processes, business models and in the reformulation of products to meet what it hails as “the new nutritional needs of Mexicans”​.

Focusing on its investment plans in Latin America and more specifically, Mexico, Nestlé intends to assign a spend of $700 million to upgrade and modernize its 17 factories in Mexico. By improving its production facilities with cutting-edge equipment, these factors will enable Nestlé to continue implementing its innovation platform.

The funds will be used to implement state-of-the-art technology to up productivity, advance processes, broaden productive capacity and attain responsible management of natural resources.

As it strives to contribute to the food and health of Mexicans, the global food and beverage company will remain dedicated to investing resources into scientific research to advance its innovation and manufacturing efforts in the health product space.

All stages of life nutrition

With a presence in Mexico for 90 years, Nestlé’s overall goal and focus in 2020 and the coming years is to “meet the nutritional needs of Mexicans in all stages of life”​.

The company is centering the manufacturing and development of its food and beverage items on launching healthier products, simplifying ingredients and adding micronutrients when they are deficient among the populations of the countries where it operates.

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