About the NHP Research Alliance

Our mission statement

Our collaboration will improve the production of authentic NHPs, protect biodiversity and ensure the sustainability and growth of the NHP industry.

Founded by Dr. Steven Newmaster, a recognized global leader in NHP authentication, and leading industry partners, the alliance uses novel molecular diagnostic tools to tackle major issues in ingredient authentication that are challenging the NHP industry.

Our Vision

I believe some plants and microbes are meant to heal us. It is our vision to engage R&D that underpins a diverse supply chain of authentic botanicals and probiotics so you can experience the benefits of traditional and novel alternative medicine.

– Dr Steven Newmaster, University of Guelph

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What does the NHP research Alliance do?

To ensure NHP authentication and ingredient sustainability, our vision is to:

  • Provide global leadership and manage research and development goals that unify stakeholders and industry leaders. Together we can create new, mutually agreed upon industry standards for NHPs to be embraced by industry and verified by USP, FDA and Health Canada.
  • Develop an extensive standard biological reference materials (SBRMs) DNA library for natural ingredients that will house more than 100,000 industry-sponsored, raw ingredient samples.
  • Provide an online portal to industry sponsors for SBRM voucher samples to enable supply chain management DNA testing and quality control systems.
  • Develop a portable, molecular diagnostic testing tool to be used on-site, allowing for rigorous and more frequent testing.
  • Lessen testing time from 2 weeks to 30 minutes and reduce testing cost per sample from $300 to under $10.
  • Offer training programs for technical employees, new regulatory compliance (FSMA, USP-verified, TRU-ID), suppliers, distributors, members and consumers.
  • Educate and inspire front-line alliance members in customer service and quality assurance.
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Why the University of Guelph?

The University of Guelph is at the epicenter of biogenomics and food science and is the birthplace of DNA barcoding where we have assembled over 6 million barcodes and 250,000 species of plants and animals.

The University is the home of leading global research institutes including:

  • The Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO), a 50,000-square-foot research facility for molecular species recognition;
  • The Centre for Biodiversity Genomics (CBG), For the study of biodiversity at the species level; and
  • The Arrell Food Institute, where University of Guelph faculty study food and food systems.

With a proven track record of knowledge transfer and successful collaboration with industry, the University of Guelph is widely acknowledged as a leader in food and agricultural science. We are currently working with:

  • US Pharmacopeia (USP) to co-develop public standards through research and development of protocols, standard biological reference materials (SBRMs) and validation testing of NHPs.
  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to create tools that use genomics and DNA barcoding to improve species identification for early detection of plant pests and mislabeled spices, meat and seafood.

Why the NHP Research Alliance?

The global NHP market is expected to grow by 7.5 per cent a year from 2016 to 2021.

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The global NHP market is expected to grow by 7.5 per cent a year from 2016 to 2021 as the worldwide consumption of NHPs significantly increases. Consequently, there are mounting concerns about the sustainability of raw ingredients and impact on affordable supply.

Also we need to offer NHPs at a reasonable cost and discourage suppliers from substituting cheaper ingredients, some of which are associated with considerable health risks. Unfortunately, the adulteration of NHPs is already a problem for consumers and brand owners who seek quality nutritional products.

Currently, the industry relies on testing protocols that identify chemicals, not necessarily species ingredients.

DNA methods are well established as forensic tools for species identification and are a standard diagnostic tool for probiotics and food-borne pathogens.

These molecular diagnostic tools can reinforce current quality control systems against the risk of fraudulent product substitution, adulteration, contamination and unlabeled fillers.