Babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy are considered premature, and often are at risk of getting sick or suffering developmental issues. Multiple studies have confirmed that there is an interplay between prematurity and childrens’ intelligence quotient (IQ). Premature babies often have lower IQs than their full term peers.
To help premature babies reach their full potential, Clover Corporation (ASX: CLV) is developing a novel nutritional version of Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is derived from fatty cold water fish such as salmon, or from seaweed. Omega-3 fatty acids can improve neurological functioning. It is also essential for the growth and functional development of the brain during infancy.
Researchers at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) have been carrying out a clinical research study using Clover’s DHA. The N3RO trial has now been completed, having evaluated the potential benefits of Clover’s high DHA emulsion when used to support normal cognitive development of premature babies.
Commencing back in 2012, the Trial saw infants born before 29 weeks enrolled and administered with Clover’s DHA alongside other standard of care treatments for premature babies. Numerous endpoint measures were evaluated. Further analysis of these results is underway, with the final report expected to determine next steps for the program’s direction.
The Trial was funded in part by a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council. Clover has invested over $1.2 million into product development and their people over the course of the project.
A previous Phase 3 trial (DINO trial) by Clover informed the N3RO trial’s design. The DINO trial saw preterm babies receive DHA at differing doses. Those who received higher doses of DHA showed significant improvement in cognitive development, as well as reduced incidence of hay fever later in development.
“We are encouraged in this early report of the top-line results from the study,” said Clover’s CEO and Managing Director Peter Davey. “We remain committed to better understanding the full data set as we consider potential paths forward for the DHA emulsion product. With strong clinical results from the previous DINO study and high tolerability of the DHA formulation we will continue to see a viable path forward for the development of DHA emulsions in this and wider clinical applications.”
Whilst continuing research, Clover’s main business lies in the manufacture and sale of Omega 3 and 6 oil capsules. The Company provides their capsules to food, pharmaceutical and infant formula manufacturers.
For the half year ended 31st January 2022 Clover reported a profit after tax of $2 million and paid a dividend of 0.5 cents per share.