London, UK, 20 July 2017: LifeArc, the medical research charity formerly known as MRC Technology, today announced it has negotiated a licence for an oral iron supplement technology with Nemysis Limited (Nemysis). Iron oxo-hydroxide adipate tartrate (IHAT) was developed at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Human Nutrition Research Unit, whose research LifeArc supports to increase the health benefits arising from MRC research. Under the licence Nemysis, a company that develops innovative medical food products, will develop, manufacture and market the oral iron supplement technology.

Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. Children, pre-menopausal women and people with a poor diet such as the elderly, those in the developing world or leading busy lifestyles are most susceptible to iron deficiency and associated iron deficiency anaemia (IDA). Iron deficiency and IDA is estimated to affect 1 billion people worldwide and is one of the top-10 risk factors contributing to the global burden of disease (WHO’s top 10 list for disease cure and prevention).

Current supplements for iron deficiency include ferric compounds which are very poorly absorbed (~2%) and ferrous compounds which are associated with well recognised toxicity issues which lead to gastrointestinal side effects, poor compliance and additional healthcare costs. IHAT is a novel synthetic material is based on the chemistry of natural, digested dietary iron. Due to its low manufacturing cost, near equivalent bioavailability to ferrous salts and increased safety profile, IHAT is a commercially viable alternative to ferrous salts for iron supplementation.

Andrew Farquharson, Executive Director Technology Transfer at LifeArc, said: “There is a major unmet need for new oral iron supplements that offer reduced gastrointestinal side effects and we are delighted to have helped translate this innovative research from the MRC. IHAT is an exciting oral supplement that we hope will soon be available to patients worldwide.”
Mr Danilo Casadei Massari, Chief Executive Officer, Nemysis, said: “This is an exciting time for us all. Nemysis is a newly founded specialty pharmaceutical company that focuses on the research and development of proprietary products with unique safety profiles to address Iron Deficiency/Anaemia and Celiac Disease. We welcome the opportunity to develop up to commercial stage products based on this innovative technology.”

Financial details have not been disclosed.

Notes to editors

Media enquiries

For LifeArc

Katie Odgaard, Zyme Communications, Tel: +44(0) 7787 502 947, Email:

Liezel Tipper, PR & Communications Manager, LifeArc. Tel: 020 7391 2772, Email: 

For Nemysis Ltd.

Dr Maria Cristina Comelli, R&D Director, Nemysis Ltd. Tel +39 348 1385814, Email:

Further information
  • IHAT was developed at the MRC Human Nutrition Research Unit by Dr Jonathan Powell, Dr Dora Pereira and Dr Nuno Faria. IHAT is described in multiple publications including Nanomedicine (2014) Nov;10(8):1877-86 (doi: 10.1016/j.nano.2014.06.012) and the methods of synthesising IHAT are protected by two patent families.
  • Dr Dora Pereira is in receipt of funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to carry out a Phase II clinical trial in The Gambia to demonstrate that IHAT safely corrects IDA in children (6-36 months old) in poor resource areas.

About LifeArc

LifeArc is the new name for MRC Technology, a medical research charity with a 25 year legacy of helping scientists and organisations turn their research into treatments and diagnostics for patients.

The new name reflects the charity’s purpose: to be the arc or bridge between research and improving patients’ lives.

LifeArc is pioneering new ways to turn great science into greater patient impact. It brings together a network of partners to tackle specific diseases and directly funds academic and early stage research.

The charity has dedicated laboratories in Stevenage where around 80 scientists work on antibody and small molecule projects, while the Edinburgh lab progresses diagnostics development.

So far, LifeArc’s work has helped to develop four drugs (Keytruda®, Actemra®, Tysabri® and Entyvio®) and a test for antimicrobial resistance.   Twitter @lifearc1