Nestles to expand in medical foods sector. Photo: Flickr/Nestle

Swiss food giant Nestlé has signed a deal to acquire US medical foods company Pamlab as the world's biggest food company looks to expand in the health and nutrition sector.

Nestlé will acquire Pamlab through its unit Nestlé Health Science, which was established in 2011 to capitalise on the growing demand for medical foods from an ageing population. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed and the closure of the deal is subject to regulatory approval.

Founded in 1987, Pamlab employs more than 300 people and has a portfolio of medical food products for patients with mild cognitive impairment, depression and diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

"The acquisition of the Pamlab business is aligned with our strategic ambition to provide science-based nutritional solutions for people with chronic medical conditions. Pamlab will particularly strengthen our brain health platform and provide us an additional foothold in metabolic health in the US," Luis Cantarell, head of Nestle Health Science, said in a statement.

Pamlab's medical food portfolio includes Metanx, which helps to meet the nutritional requirements of diabetes patients; Deplin that provides necessary nutritional support for certain people on prescribed antidepressant therapy; and CerefolinNAC, a medical food to help address distinct metabolic nutritional needs associated with mild cognitive impairment.

"With their support, we will accelerate the development and deployment of our innovative nutritional solutions for people with chronic metabolic and neurologic conditions," said Eric Wingerter, Pamlab president and CEO.

The deal comes correlates to Nestlé's acquisition in 2012 of a stake in the US firm Accera which makes medical foods for Alzheimer's patients, and the formation of a joint venture named Nutrition Science Partners to develop nutritional and medicinal products from botanical plants to address gastrointestinal disorders.

The company earlier acquired US firm Prometheus Laboratories, which specialises in tests and drugs for inflammatory bowel diseases; Vitaflo that provides clinical nutritional solutions for infants, children and adults with genetic food processing disorders; and UK-based CM&D Pharma that makes a chewing gum for kidney patients.