The two Swedish companies originally entered into an agreement in March to bring the drops based on lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillis reuteri (Reuteri) to market in Spain, Portugal, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Of all of the countries now covered by the agreements, Canada and Portugal are expected to see the products on shelves this autumn. In the others, the regulatory process has already been initiated.
Peter Rothschild, BioGaia managing director, told NutraIngredients-USA.com that although the Canadian market is not as big as the US, the company has noticed that in other less populated countries, such as Finland and the Far East, sales of Reuteri are "increasing dramatically".
This he attributed to there being less child-specific priobiotic products on the market, so Reuteri can "take a very large part of the probiotics for children market".
That said, BioGaia is seeking to extend its reach for Reuteri in the US, where it is presently only sold in hospitals, into pharmacies and other retail outlets.
Rothschild could not reveal at this time exactly which Middle Eastern countries Ferring will launch Reuteri in, but said that it will be in four or five of the most important markets. They may not be "giant", but consumers there have considerable purchasing power.
As to why the two companies did not sign for all the countries together, he said that there were some special conditions to negotiate for the Middle East; and in Canada, regulatory issues needed to be solved.
In all of Ferring's markets the products will be sold under BioGaia's own brand. This is also the case in the UK market, where the company sells through Forrest Laboratories.
Rothschild said that the BioGaia label is seen as preferable, since the company aims to raise awareness of its brand both amongst consumers and the medical profession, which tends to become aware of positive studies first and can recommend the products.
The results of a study investigating the effects of the probiotic bacteria drops on the symptoms of colic in breast-feeding infants, presented at the European Society for Paediatric Research Meeting in Siena, Italy, last September, are thought to have boosted interest in Reuteri around the world.
The results of some new studies are expected to be made public in the near future.