Metuchen, NJ— A highly competitive ITN research grant from European Commission’s research program Horizon 2020 has been awarded to NattoPharma’s International Research Network coordinated by Queen Mary University of London. The partnership is comprised of four other highly ranked research university departments in Europe [University College Dublin (part of the national University of Ireland), University of Maastricht, Ludvig-Maximilians-Universitaet, and Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm] as well as the Medical Research Council Technology, an independent life science medical research charity in the UK. The grant, which is called EVOLuTION (European Vascular Interventions and Therapeutic Innovation Network), is what NattoPharma participates in and the money awarded will be applied to training for 11 early stage researchers (ESR’s) in the management of chronic diseases in the field of cardiovascular disease.

NattoPharma has worked closely with the Maastricht University since 2004 with documenting the benefits of menaquinone-7, branded as MenaQ7, the company’s exclusive vitamin K2. Training utilizing innovative therapeutic strategies are hoping to yield novel approaches to the management of chronic metabolic and vascular diseases that affect the Western societies increasing aging population by integrating early detection and prevention.

“The Horizon 2020 research grant is one of the most prestigious grants in Europe. The successful grant assignment and the opportunity to allocate highly qualified researchers to further work on vitamin K research is a great recognition of the vitamin K2 platform by this collaboration so far,” says associate professor Leon Schurgers at CARIM, Maastricht University, and the main contact between NattoPharma, the University, and Horizon 2020. “I have great expectations for potential new and exciting observations that will arise from our mutual efforts – identifying even more positive health benefits of menaquinone-7.”

The grant will be added to the over 2.9M Euro that the EVOluTION consortium received in 2015. Focusing on documentation and characterization of new biological aspects and effects of menaquinone-7 (as MenaQ7), the application received the highest possible score and is now funding two full-tie researchers for three years towards that end.

“The assignment of this Horizon 2020 grant is an honor that further validates the importance of the work we have been doing with Maastricht University, and shines a light on the impact vitamin K2 can have on improving global health,” says NattoPharma chief medical officer Hogne Vik, adding that NattoPharma’s first priority has always been the documentation of MenaQ7’s biological effects. “The beneficial effects of MenaQ7 on bone and vasculature is what has driven our marketing efforts. Through EVOluTION, NattoPharma will now have access to two full-time PhD-candidates that will be focused on exploring on existing and potential new mechanisms for biological effects and health benefits for menaquinone-7. This is a great opportunity for NattoPharma, and we are eager to see how the expected future achievements from this research collaboration and explorations of MenaQ7 in Maastricht and other scientific environments will enable NattoPharma to strengthen our scientific position with regards to chronic vascular and metabolic diseases. We are further eager to secure more biological data that can open up novel user indications, as well as extending our patent portfolio."