Dartmouth supplement maker Ascenta acquired by German firm

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A Dartmouth manufacturer of nutritional supplements is being swallowed up by a German pharmaceutical company specializing in natural health products.

Ascenta Health Ltd. will be acquired by Nature’s Way Products Inc., an American subsidiary of Dr. Willmar Schwabe Pharmaceuticals of Karlsruhe, Germany. The purchase price wasn’t disclosed Tuesday.

The 12-year-old Dartmouth operation produces the NutraSea brand of nutritional products, made from omega-3 fatty acids.

Ascenta founder and CEO Marc St-Onge said he started talking to Nature’s Way officials about a distribution partnership in the United States, but those discussions evolved into the sales agreement announced Tuesday.

“We were looking for a strategic partner in the U.S.; they were looking for a strategic partner for the omega-3 category,” St-Onge said in an interview. “When both parties got together, we saw a lot of synergy.”

Ascenta Health will become a division of Nature’s Way, based in Lehi, Utah.

The Nova Scotia operation, located in Burnside Park, has 65 employees involved in manufacturing, research, sales and marketing.

St-Onge said the acquisition will help Ascenta, a key player in the Canadian market, expand its business in the United States and beyond.

In 2009, Ascenta received $4 million in venture capital financing from Avrio Capital of Calgary. The Dartmouth firm also got a $500,000 repayable loan from Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency in 2013.

As for Nature’s Way, the deal will boost the U.S. company’s profile in Canada and the omega-3 fish oil supplement market.

Source: thechronicleherald

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