FoodPharma, a US contract manufacturer of functional and nutritional foods, has sold a majority stake in the business to local private-equity firm New Harbor Capital.

The Chicago-based investment firm said the deal, for an undisclosed sum, will help FoodPharma expand into new product areas and new markets.

FoodPharma, based in Santa Fe Springs, California, has a portfolio of more than 500 “proprietary formulas and recipes”, as well as in-house research, development, and formulation capabilities

Founded in 2000, the company is said to have a market-leading position in the soft chew category, specifically in bariatric and weight-loss nutrition. It also supplies protein and nutrition bars, bites and other confectionery items.

The company serves customers and channels, including CPG, private label, and speciality brands. It employs more than 90 people in two California facilities in Santa Fe Springs and Long Beach.

New Harbor said it is partnering with FoodPharma’s founder and CEO, Glen Marinelli, to “create a leading food science company focused on the research, development, and manufacturing of high-quality, functional food products”.

It said it was drawn to FoodPharma due to its “unique positioning as a full-service contract manufacturer, its innovative formulation and development capabilities, its healthcare industry applications, and its market-differentiating position in several product categories”.

New Harbor partner Tom Formolo said: “After spending significant time researching the nutrition and functional foods industry, we are very excited to be partnering with Glen Marinelli through an investment in his innovative and high-quality company.

“We are eager to leverage FoodPharma’s excellent reputation and broad capabilities as we expand into new product categories, customers, industry segments and geographies to build a leader in the functional foods industry.”

FoodPharma’s Marinelli said: “I am thrilled to form this partnership with the New Harbor Capital team. From the very beginning, it was clear that our organisations shared similar values and commitments to innovation and growth. New Harbor’s extensive experience working with founder-led companies in relevant industries to ours has already started to elevate our business.”

Just Food has asked New Harbor for further details of which new product areas and territories it may be targeting for FoodPharma post-deal.