South Korea’s NVP Healthcare banks on gut-liver probiotic for global growth

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

NVP Healthcare is pending a European patent for its probiotic complex that claims to improve both intestinal health and liver function. ©NVP Healthcare
NVP Healthcare is pending a European patent for its probiotic complex that claims to improve both intestinal health and liver function. ©NVP Healthcare

Related tags Probiotic Gut health liver health South korea Lactobacillus

South Korean biohealth company NVP Healthcare is pending a European patent for its probiotic complex that claims to improve both intestinal health and liver function, in hopes that it would pave the way for global expansion.

This comes after successful patent registration in its domestic market and various countries, namely Japan, China, Russia, the US, Australia, Canada, India, Mexico and Philippines.

The patent relates to Lactobacillus plantarum LC27 ​(L. plantarum ​LC27) and Bifidobacterium longum LC67 ​(B. longum​ LC67), lactic acid bacteria strains that have been found to be effective in preventing and treating liver diseases such as hepatitis, fatty liver, and cirrhosis.

Using its proprietary DuoBiome technology, NVP Healthcare developed a complex probiotic called NVP-1702, which consists of B. longum​ LC67 isolated from the intestines of healthy Koreans and L. plantarum ​LC27 isolated from kimchi.

NVP-1702 was approved by Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) as a functional ingredient in July last year. It is the first and only probiotic recognised by the authority for the claim of improving both gut and liver function.

“After the patent registration has been completed in Europe, which is the home of lactobacillus, it will lay the foundation for our global expansion,” ​the firm said.

In addition, the company has conducted clinical trials to confirm the effectiveness of NVP-1702 in improving alcoholic liver damage.

Fatty liver, a common manifestation of liver damage, is caused by various factors, including obesity, stress, and excessive drinking.

According to several recent studies, intestinal microbial imbalance has also been pointed out as a cause of liver damage.

“In the intestines of people with fatty liver, endotoxins, including lipopolysaccharides (LPS), increase intestinal permeability. This reportedly leads to liver damage as endotoxins move directly to the liver through the portal vein.”

NVP Healthcare’s studies found that alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (γ-GTP) levels, which are indicators of liver damage, were improved by NVP-1702.

Furthermore, the level of LPS in blood and faeces was significantly lowered, suggesting that the probiotic complex has a different mechanism from existing liver disease treatments.

“NVP-1702 ultimately improves liver damage by reducing inflammation through the suppression of LPS production.

“Due to concerns that existing synthetic drugs or health functional foods may put additional burden on damaged liver, ‘microbiome-based gut-liver axis control’ has recently emerged among the medical community as a new alternative for developing liver disease treatment that does not cause side effects. NVP-1702 can be seen as an example that proves this.”

Commercial application

In November 2023, NVP Healthcare launched a health functional food named “Liver lactic acid bacteria NVP-1702” under its probiotics brand Bicrome.

The product is available at Bicrome’s official online mall.

It is the brand’s third lactobacillus project, released after more than a decade of research, and is designed to support both liver and intestinal health with one capsule per day.

The firm expects this product to lead “a new paradigm” in the health functional foods market for enhancing liver function.

“Liver lactic acid bacteria NVP-1702 is a product that can help improve non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition usually seen in people who are overweight or obese. As of 2021, there were about 400,000 people with NAFLD in Korea, an increase of more than 40% in the past five years.

Fatty liver and liver damage can also occur due to changes in hormones or body constitution. Particularly for women experiencing menopause, the number of people with NAFLD rises due to hormonal changes after the age of 50.”

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