Abbott Nutrition sheds light on importance of collaboration in nutrition supplement clinical trials

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

A researcher recording down findings from her scientific study. ©Getty Images
A researcher recording down findings from her scientific study. ©Getty Images

Related tags Abbott Nutrition ASTAR ILSI

Collaboration across key stakeholders such as researchers, hospitals, and the industry is crucial when running human clinical trials, according to an exec from Abbott Nutrition who spoke about the firm’s experience in Asia-Pacific at a symposium co-organised by International Life Sciences Institute Southeast Asia Region (ILSI-SEA) recently.

Sridhar Kameswaran, area director at Abbott Nutrition R&D was speaking on the topic “Delivering differentiated scientific benefits through integrated product development” at a symposium co-organised by A*STAR’s Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI) and ILSI-SEA.

Themed "The Integration of Food Science and Nutrition to Improve Global Health", the symposium also celebrated the achievements and retirement of Professor Christiani Jeyakumar Henry, deputy executive director of A*STAR’s SIFBI.

Prof Henry, the director of the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre (CNRC) which is part of SIFBI, was also awarded the Nutrachampion​ title at the NutraIngredients-Asia Awards 2019.

Held at Biopolis, researchers and industry sponsors from the likes of Abbott, Ajinomoto, BENEO, Roquette, and Symrise​ gave presentations on food science, nutrition, and global health concerns at the symposium.

One of the key points brought up was the importance of collaboration when conducting human clinical trials.

Abbott Nutrition, for example, has successfully completed its SHIELD (Strengthening Health in ELDerly through Nutrition) study​ in Singapore with the involvement of Changi General Hospital (CGH) and SingHealth Polyclinics.

The study assessed the impact of Abbott’s oral nutrition supplement marketed as Ensure Life HMB in enhancing health outcomes of community dwelling older adults who are at risk of malnutrition.

Conducted in 2017, at least five scientific papers have come out from the trial involving 811 elderly aged 65 and above.

The key point that I really wanted to highlight was collaboration. CGH as well as Singhealth polyclinics and obviously, Abbott was also involved in getting this study done.  

“The last I checked, we have five plus publications and 11 conferences proceedings already coming out from this one study and a few more are in the pipeline.

“We are really honoured with the partnership, and more importantly, I should take this opportunity to thank the funding from Economic Development Board (EDB) and CGH for the study. Again, I would like to highlight the fact that we cannot do it all, this kind of study could have never happened without any partnership,” ​said Kameswaran.

So far, findings from the trial have been published in scientific journals such as Clinical Nutrition.

Kameswaran also paid tribute to Prof Henry whom he had been collaborating with for around the past seven years.

In terms of clinical programs, paediatric nutrition is one of the key focus areas for Abbott Nutrition.

With healthy ageing becoming a major trend, issues such as sarcopenia, malnutrition among older adults, and diabetes are the other focus areas for the firm, according to Kameswaran.

NPD highlights

During his presentation on integrated product development, Kameswaran also highlighted the importance of keeping the consumer need in mind, as well as creating a differentiated product with unique benefits.

“The first thing that I always said to myself is to start with the consumer and then end with the consumer. You need to be very clear about who is it that you are designing the product for, be very clear about the population data, and what is their specific need that you are addressing.

“The more important thing is how you could deliver a differentiated benefit that is scientifically substantiated, what is the volume of existing evidence that you could leverage on or the new evidence needed, which by the way, means time and investment,” ​he said.

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