British Biologicals to export nutraceuticals to US, Russia

February 23rd, 2008 - 12:59 pm ICT by admin  

By Fakir Balaji
Bangalore, Feb 23 (IANS) British Biologicals Ltd., a leading mid-size Indian pharma firm, is set to enter American, Russian and European markets to export a range of dietary supplement nutraceuticals, a top company official said here. Nutraceuticals are prescribed as a part of food for health benefits to prevent or treat natural diseases. The products range from select nutrients and specific diets to genetically engineered foods, with herbal ingredients or generic foods like cereals, soups and beverages.

The term “nutraceutical” was first coined by American doctor Stephen DeFelice in the 1990s.

“We are in the process of acquiring a protein product firm in New Jersey to foray into the US market this year. By April, we will enter the Russian market through a partner to export our products.

We are exploring similar tie-ups in Europe and Britain to expand our presence in western markets where demand for nutraceuticals has been growing due to changing lifestyles and ageing population,” British Biologicals managing director V.S. Reddy told IANS, but declined to spell out the proposed investments as agreements were yet to be finalised.

With a growing presence in the Rs.6.5-billion domestic nutraceuticals’ market, the 20-year-old Bangalore-based manufacturing firm has been exporting products to 15 countries in Asia, Middle East and Africa. It claims to have 23 percent market share in India, with an annual growth rate of 35 percent.

“Since exports account for only 15 percent of our annual sales, (Rs.1.2 billion in FY 2007), we have decided to expand geographical presence worldwide to take advantage of cost arbitrage and strong product portfolio despite stiff competition from Indian and multinational firms in the multi-billion dollar international market,” Reddy said.

Alembic, EID Parry, Lupin, Novortis and Pfizer are some of the leading pharma firms, which manufacture and market a range of nutraceuticals.

The company is also developing new proteins to meet the requirements of African countries and double export turnover in the next two-three years. The nutraceuticals market in the US is estimated to be about $5 billion a year, with an annual growth rate of 20 percent.

Popularly known as “protein people”, the company markets a range of nutraceuticals under its brands - B-Protein and D-Protein for diabetics; Pulmocare for lungs; Pro-Pl for pregnant and lactating mothers; Kids Pro for growing children; Meno Pro for menopause; Medi Slim for slimming; Ax Kal as an alternative to sugar and Hepa Pro (hepatoprotector).

“We have recently tied up with Raisio Nutrition Ltd of Finland in north Europe to introduce in Asia its nutritional product ‘Benecol’ under the brand ‘Colred’ for controlling and reducing cholesterol,” Reddy said.

The $400-million Finnish company supplies raw material to the Indian firm for manufacturing through technology transfer as well as marketing the product under licence in Indian and Asian markets in powder form. It is priced at Rs.195 plus taxes for 200 gm packet in the domestic market.

“Though Benecol has been endorsed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and FOSHU (foods for specialised health use) in Japan after extensive clinical trials, we have conducted our own trials to assess its efficacy in controlling and reducing cholesterol, with no adverse side-effects in clinical and toxicological studies,” Reddy said.

Random trials were conducted on 60 patients at the state-run Jaideva Institute of Cardiology in the city. The union health ministry granted approval to Raisio for introducing its product in the Indian market.

With an installed capacity of 75,000 units per day, the privately-held debt-free company has an in-house research and development (R&D) facility to develop a variety of nutrition supplements.

“The next product line will be in the areas of orthopaedics, oncology, nephrology and cardiology,” Reddy added.

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