The agreement will see the two companies initiate a joint probiotic development program – which will be funded under non-disclosed financial terms by Cilag International, while Probi will contribute with probiotic expertise.
As a major global player in the global OTC (over the counter) field, Cilag will bring extensive market expertise and development capabilities, while Probi’s will bring know-how from 25 years of experience in the development of probiotics.
Probi told NutraIngredients that by combining its own in-depth probiotic knowledge with the strong development and marketing capabilities of Cilag in this way ‘creates a very strong team moving forward.’
“We are very happy to initiate this development program together with a strong global partner in OTC. By combining Probi´sprobiotic expertise with the pharma company's development resources and regulatory expertise, we will form a very strong team moving forward together.” said Ole Søgaard Andersen CEO of Probi.
Probiotic boom: A sign of growing OTC interest?
Probi noted that the rapid growth of the probiotic segment coupled with new and exciting research on the importance of human microbiota has increased interest from pharma companies, and their consumer health care divisions, in probiotic product development.
Indeed, a number of industry experts recently told NutraIngredients that OTC and consumer health companies are opening up to nutrition.
Erasmo Schutzer senior vice president of consumer health and nutrition at Lonza commented recently that the future of large consumer healthcare brands will very likely be in merging traditional over-the-counter (OTC) brands and businesses with dietary supplements and nutritional products.
In a special edition interview with Nutraingredients Schultzer said that alongside the growth in business for nutritionals, a number of large pharmaceutical brands with traditional OTC products have also started broadening their product lines to include ranges that would have been traditionally considered a nutritional product - such as multivitamins or probiotics.
“In some markets, those nutritional ingredients are being marketed as a pharmaceutical product, with sales organisations calling on doctors, and educating doctors about the benefits of the product,” he said. “We have cases where the best-selling probiotic in some countries is marketed by a pharmaceutical company.”
Meanwhile, in a separate video interview William Rowe, president and CEO of Nutrasource Diagnostics – a contract research organization (CRO) specialising in regulatory consulting, clinical trials and product testing for the natural health and pharmaceutical industries – recently told us there has been a recent convergence between the two industries, as many pharmaceutical companies look to purchase nutraceutical companies and brands, and work together with them to explore the ways ingredients and bioactives can be taken down multiple routes to market.
“There are certainly some natural products, and their ingredients that have pharmacological and pharmaceutical effects. And the pharma industry is starting, but needs to open up further, to that end,” he said.