DENMARK – Chr. Hansen has introduced a new three-strain probiotic blend that can help support the health and development of intestines in preterm babies and has been shown to reduce risk of Necrotizing enterocolitis by 50%.

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is an inflammatory disease and is the leading cause of mortality worldwide for preterm babies.

Experts believe that an underdeveloped or damaged intestine is the main cause of NEC, instigated by complications including lack of blood or oxygen to the intestine, injury to the intestinal lining or bacterial growth on the intestinal wall.

The global bioscience company’s new three-strain probiotic blend has shown to help support the intestinal tract for healthy immune and digestive function.

Now launched through customer partnerships in the US and in Europe, Chr. Hansen said that the new product is already being used in some neonatal intensive care units, fed to babies through a feeding tube.

“Our purpose is strong, and we are truly excited to make a difference for this vulnerable group – preterm infants. The multi-strain probiotic has been tested in two high quality clinical trials for its efficacy and safety,” says Andrew Scorey, senior vice president for Human Health at Chr. Hansen.

“Using our science and technology to make a positive difference in the world is what we are in business for, which is why we are so happy to bring this first-of-its-kind solution to preterm babies.”

The new product from Chr. Hansen contains a blend of three different probiotic strains: BB-12 Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis, TH-4 Streptococcus thermophilus and Bifidibacteruim logum subsp. Infantis.

According to the company, the blend has been shown to help reduce the risk of NEC by up to 50%, which Chr. Hansen claims has been documented in two clinical trials including a total of more than 1,200 preterm infants born two months or earlier than due date. 

“Preterm infants typically have an unbalanced intestinal microbiota making them vulnerable to infections and certain life-threatening diseases,” explains senior scientific advisor at Chr. Hansen, Ulla Holmboe Gondolf.

This three-strain probiotic product with different strains and different species has been shown to provide functional advantages for the preterm population.”

Strict production requirements

Due to the high vulnerability of preterm infants to infections, Chr. Hansen said that it has implemented the “strictest of production processes.”

Scorey notes: “We always comply with the relevant production and quality standards for the production of all our products.

“In this case, we have added many more requirements on top of what is stipulated as standard to go the extra mile to ensure the highest quality, safe product for this vulnerable population.”

Chr. Hansen’s extra requirements include extended contaminant testing and stricter requirements regarding both environmental monitoring and cleaning before production to eliminate the risk of contamination.

The product is also packed in single use, sealed packages to help reduce the risk of contamination compared to multi-use containers.