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Americas: Ajinomoto acquires medical foods company

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Ajinomoto North America, Inc. (AJINA) has acquired US medical foods company Cambrooke Therapeutics for about US$64 million, and made it a wholly owned subsidiary.

Founded in 2000, Cambrooke develops and manufactures medical foods for patients with amino acid metabolism disorders and other customers.

It also makes products such as medical foods for patients with intractable epilepsy and low-protein foods for patients with kidney and liver diseases, and is rolling out its product line-up outside the United States in Europe and elsewhere.

The company uses original ingredients to develop products that are superior to competing products in taste and digestibility, and has achieved a high rate of growth exceeding 20% annually for the past three years.

Market brief

The market for medical foods in the US was worth US$1,750 million in 2016, with a compound annual growth rate of approximately 10%.

The category of foods for patients with metabolic disorders accounts for about 40% of this market at US$660 million (approximately JPY 75.0 billion) and is growing at an annual rate of 10% (2017; Ajinomoto’s estimate).

Patients with metabolic disorders are unable to ingest regular foods and must eat only specified medical foods on a daily basis, but the palatability and lack of variety of these foods have been major issues.

For years, Ajinomoto has sold amino acids into the medical foods market as ingredients.

By applying scientific knowledge of amino acids’ nutritional and physiological functions, ‘deliciousness technologies’ and food application technologies to Cambrooke’s operations, Ajinomoto will offer enhanced foods to patients with metabolic disorders.

In addition, by adding to the disease areas covered and using its sales channels outside Japan to strengthen Cambrooke’s overseas rollout, Ajinomoto aims to expand its share of the global market for medical foods for patients with amino acid metabolism disorders to 20%, with sales of approximately USD 90 million (approximately JPY 10 billion) by 2027.

It also intends to expand its lineup of high-value-added health and nutrition-related products.