ChromaDex, the monopoly supplier of Nictotinamide Riboside (NR) has sued Elysium, a high profile NR vendor at the end of the year. ChromaDex’s filing can be read here and Elysium has not responded in public as far as I can tell.
Elysium, co-founded by M.I.T. longevity researcher Leonard Guarante in late 2014 and now with a large science advisory board including seven Nobel Prize Laureates, has sold BASIS, which is 250 mg of NR and 50 mg of blueberry compound pterostilbine, since early 2015 at $50 a month for those who subscribe through their website. NR and pterostilbine can be be bought from other vendors but Elysium’s price is competitive.
According to Chromadex’s lawsuit, Elysium bought 900 kg of Naigen (the brand name of NR) in 2015 and then 1600 kg of Naigen (NR) in the first quarter of 2016. At the time, Elysium reportedly raised concerns about pricing and ChromaDex claims they reached out to Elysium to settle pricing concerns but was rebuffed.
Then on June 28, 2016, Elysium ordered 6600 kg of Naigen (NR) and 1260 kg of pterostilbine, four times the previous order.
But Elysium was also one month into its two month double-blind trial of 120 healthy 60 to 80 year olds on June 28, 2016, so they knew how their BASIS at 250 mg/50 mg pterostilbine and double dose of 500 mg of Naigen (NR)/100 mg of pterostilbine was affecting 1) heart rate 2) blood pressure 3) glucose levels as well as performance on a 6 minute walking test among others. A larger than normal purchase of NR and pterostilbine after the one month results were known suggests efficacy beyond the results released in December, that Elysium BASIS at 250mg NR/ 50mg pterostilbine increased NAD+ 45% and the double dose increased NAD+ by 90%.
Yet Elysium demanded a $400/kg price for Niagen (NR) which was
“far below the parties’ agreed price of S1000/kg for NIAGEN NR, even though Elysium never discussed the proposed pricing changes with ChromaDex. Elysium knew or should have know that ChromaDex would not accept the June 28 Purchase Orders at that price.”
ChromaDex then negotiated a $800/kg price for Naigen (NR), which the lawsuit claims Elysium reluctantly accepted. Elysium then cut back the previous larger order to 3000kg of Naigen (NR) and 580kg of pterostilbine. ChromaDex filled the orders and claims in the lawsuit that they have not received the almost $3 million in return. Elysium told ChromaDex it will not pay until the pricing issues of the June 30th phone call that transpired are settled.
So what’s going on?
One thing to keep in mind is that suppliers often receive late payments. Proctor & Gamble has faced friction for this practice with many of its suppliers, and ironically ChromaDex became one of their suppliers last year in an exclusive Naigen (NR) deal. My guess is that Elysium wants the same deal that P&G got if not an even better deal.
So we have an interesting case of a relatively high-profile NR vendor playing hardball with the NR monopoly supplier.
Stay tuned for round two!