Provexis plans Sirco exit strategy

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Inflammatory bowel disease, Ulcerative colitis

Nutraceutical developer Provexis says it is in advanced discussions
over exiting its demonstration juice brand Sirco to focus on the
future, as it reports strong sales and a reduction in its operating
loss in the full year ended March 31 2007.

The UK-based company has reported revenues of £805,000, up from £267,000 in 2006 - most of which was generated by sales of its Sirco juice brand in the UK. It was launched in early 2006 as a demonstration product. It also reduced its operating loss from £2.68m to £2.27m. In March, Provexis announced that it had signed a collaboration agreement with Unilever to develop an advanced form of Fruitflow (the same technology that underlies Sirco and is purported to bring anti-platelet aggregation benefits), to make it suitable for product types other than juice. Although a collaboration was known to be underway, the company had kept its partner's identity under wraps for some time. But in parallel with this, a major project is underway with a company described as "a global leader in beverage brands"​ to assess the feasibility of an international juice product based in Fruitflow. CEO Stephen Moon said: "We are in advanced discussions for exiting Sirco and expect to make an announcement in the near future."​ It is not clear whether the Sirco exit discussions and the beverage brand project are one and the same strategy. Sirco, now sold through 1,800 distribution points, has helped raise awareness of the technology in the eyes of global food companies - as has a positive study on Fruitflow's efficacy published in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. "We are pleased with our progress in the last year, which has seen the Company begin its transition to becoming a pure discovery, development and licensing business,"​ said Moon. However in the coming financial year Provexis plans to eliminate the bulk of Sirco marketing and selling costs. This, together with other administration, overhead and headcount savings, is expected to result in a 45 per cent reduction of costs. Together with £2,150,000 raised post year-end to fund research, development and licensing activities, Provexis will use the money saved to develop its pipeline of other technologies. Nearing the end of the pipeline is its plantain-based technology for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, and specifically Crohn's Disease, for which Provexis was awarded a US patent recently. "We remain committed to this important technology and will carry out a healthy human trial in the summer, before commencing a trial on Crohn's Disease patients later in the year,"​ said Moon.

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