An apple a day may indeed keep the doctor at bay, according to innovative research being undertaken by a firm which has just expanded its operations within a North East business park.
Pharmaceutical and food research specialist Coressence, based at the Wilton Centre on Teesside, has discovered that ancient varieties of apples contain unique health-giving properties.
Using a series of processes, the company’s scientists have found a number of bioactive substances present in the fruit that can be used in cardiovascular health products, colon cancer therapy and foodstuffs for chronic kidney disease sufferers.
The team of food and pharmaceutical scientists, clinicians, nutritionists, regulatory affairs experts, plant breeders and horticulturalists, which has been working on the project since December 2011, is now about to launch a range of unique products to be marketed under the Evesse brand name to the medical and healthcare markets.
Coressence chief executive Richard Wood said the company was now Europe’s largest producer of epicatechin-rich supplements and food ingredients.
He added: “Epicatechin is a naturally-occurring molecule that has been shown to improve the flexibility of arteries and improve bloodflow, which is good for people with poor vascular health who suffer from high blood pressure, for example.
“Recent evidence has also shown that the molecule can offer benefits such as improved exercise performance and endurance, muscle growth and tone, improved memory and cognition, recovery from myocardial infarction and potentially improved outcomes for people suffering from chronic kidney disease.
“Coressence has established research projects under way in each of these areas.”
To support its move to the next stage of refining the process to produce end products to be marketed, Coressence has signed a lease to occupy three units in Wilton Centre’s Innovation Accelerator.
The specialist facility, located at the 75-acre business and science park between Redcar and Middlesbrough, is dedicated to nurturing innovative businesses within the science, technology, engineering and life sciences sectors and provides pilot plants, specialist laboratories and office space.
Wood added: “Without the Innovation Accelerator we would have found it very difficult to upscale our process and progress to the next and much bigger stage of development.”
Wilton Centre’s site director Steve Duffield said Coressence perfectly illustrated the value of the facility to companies that want the ability to expand and build on initial research and development projects.
He explained: “This is very exciting work by a highly creative specialist company and it is the reason that the Innovation Accelerator was built.”