EM Industries: Exploring New Business Opportunities
EM Industries, Hawthorne, NY, is the U.S. arm of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, not to be confused with Merck & Co in the U.S. Merck KGaA is one of the oldest operating chemical-pharmaceutical companies in the world, with roots that go back to the year 1668 when Friedrich Jacob Merck purchased the Engel-Apotheke in Darmstadt. In 1827 Emanuel Merck began the large-scale production of alkaloids, followed by plant extracts and several other chemicals in standardized, high quality. By then, the company was called E. Merck, Darmstadt. By the late 1800’s E. Merck offered approximately 10,000 products, exported to many countries and founded subsidiaries throughout the world. In 1889, Georg Merck, grandson of Heinrich Emanuel Merck, took over the New York office and in 1891 established Merck & Co. After World War I, E. Merck lost many of its foreign affiliates, among them Merck & Co. in the U.S. Merck & Co. became an independent American company and eventually one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Today Merck & Co. is known outside the U.S. and Canada as MSD Sharp & Dohme.
In terms of its role, EM Industries is involved in numerous areas of business including nutraceuticals through its CHN (cosmetic-health-nutrition) division. Among the products in EM’s portfolio are bioflavonoids, vitamins, minerals and various functional ingredients.
One of the newest additions to its portfolio is DHA. EM recently established an alliance with Warriewood, Australia-based Clover Corporation to promote and market a range of higher DHA omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids—derived from tuna—to the dietary supplement industry and selected food markets in the U.S. Clover extracts its oils from four selected tuna species found in the South Pacific ocean that, according to the company, have higher DHA levels than other commercially processed varieties of fish. Clover’s “Hi-DHA” powders and oils are sold for encapsulation by dietary supplement and food manufacturers.
Back in Germany, Merck KGaA has developed a new process for manufacturing ascorbic acid. The raw materials used in the production process can now be derived from corn (maize) rather than beets. Under the new process, Merck KGaA’s ascorbic acid, as well as the raw materials used in the production process, are GMO-free, free of gluten, soy and soy derivatives and have no animal origins.
In other product news, earlier this year the company reached a licensing agreement with The South Alabama Medical School Foundation (SAMSF), Mobile, AL, granting Merck’s CHN division the rights to market naturally occurring reduced folates worldwide. Target markets focus on the fortified and functional food area as well as the dietary supplement industry. EM will be responsible for the sales and marketing in the U.S.
EM also launched a quarterly newsletter in September, appropriately named “EMphasis,” to coincide with recent developments at the company. Commenting on the newsletter was Marty Towey, marketing coordinator, who said, “Because of the limited time that people have these days, we came up with the idea of bringing them timely information regarding product developments and personnel information at EM—hence EMphasis. This is our way of communicating with the decision makers in the food, nutrition and beverage industries and keeping them up to date on new developments surrounding EM/Merck KGaA.” The newsletter can also be received via e-mail or accessed through the company’s website—www.EMnutrition.com. The company has also launched product specific newsletters, with the inaugural publication “EM Bioflavonoids” focusing on quercetin. The next issue will focus on rutin, also part of the bioflavonoid family.
As for future developments at EM, Steve Rivoir, director of the Food and Nutrition Business Unit, said that the company will soon launch natural-based compounds that will come from in-house developments as well as from partnerships and alliances. Furthermore, he said, “We intend to launch a bioflavonoid product in the first half of next year.”
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