Chr. Hansen strengthens female focused-probiotic interests with HSO purchase

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Chr. Hansen strengthens probiotic interest with HSO purchase

Related tags: Chr hansen, HSO, Probiotics

Chr. Hansen continues its strategy of populating its microbial platform with ‘bolt-on’ acquisitions with the addition of HSO Health Care, a company specialising in probiotics for women’s health.

The acquisition adds HSO’s Astarte portfolio of probiotic products for conditions such as bacterial vaginosis to Chr. Hansen’s Urex range that addresses health complaints like urinary tract infections.

Whilst financial deal terms are not disclosed, Chr Hansen says the agreement will add expected 2020 revenues of around €15m, with an EBITDA margin above 40%.

“I am excited that we have reached an agreement with HSO Health Care, which has demonstrated very fast growth through a globally recognised portfolio that complements our own Urex products nicely,”​ says Mauricio Graber, CEO of Chr. Hansen.

“Women’s health is a high-growth segment where innovation is becoming increasingly important, and with the addition of the Astarte portfolio we will be able to deliver innovation to a much larger market more quickly.”

Four strains

Astarte uses four Lactobacillus​ strains (L. crispatus LBV 88, L. rhamnosus LBV 96, L. jensenii LBV 116, L.gasseri LBV 150N​) taken from healthy pregnant women to support vaginal and urinary tract health.

The strains can address or support the delicate vaginal microbial ecosystem balance, which if compromised by reduced vaginal Lactobacilli​ numbers, can increase risk of various adverse gynaecological and obstetric outcomes.

“HSO Health Care has been working from a mindset of scientifically documented, natural products since our inception,”​ says Helmut Essl, CEO of HSO Health Care.

“We are delighted that with the addition of the Astarte products to Chr. Hansen, we can make an even greater impact on a global scale. I am very excited that Chr. Hansen will now bring Astarte to the next level.”

Culturelle Women’s Healthy Balance, a product that uses Astarte probiotic strains, was an example used in a recent report by Lumina​, in which it points to the progress made in probiotics for women’s health

The report adds the discovery of new microbiome communities means the emergence of products addressing breast health and osteoporosis are not so far-fetched, buoyed on by a potential audience of over 1.4 billion women.

It identifies breast health and osteoporosis as emerging areas that would join the more established female-specific probiotic products for pregnancy and skin health as well as vaginal and urinary tract infections.

Probiotic segment growth

According to Chr. Hansen, women’s health is one of the fastest growing probiotic segments, with an estimated market CAGR of more than 15% since 2015, which HSO has outperformed substantially

The Danish bioscience firm’s activities in this sector includes a collaboration​ with Lonza last year to produce live biotherapeutic (LBP) products to address gastrointestinal and cardiovascular conditions.

In August of that year, the firms’ joint venture, BacThera received approval​ from anti-trust regulators.

In 2018, Chr. Hansen announced plans to collaborate​with Prota Therapeutics in a partnership looking into developing a probiotic approach to address peanut allergies.

The collaboration with Prota Therapeutics, an oral immunotherapy developer, looked at Chr. Hansen’s LGG probiotic strain and its potential to reprogram the immune system’s response to peanuts and eventually develop tolerance.

Chr Hansen’s probiotic-focused direction is in keeping with the firms’ ‘Nature’s no. 1’ approach that tries to pursue broader opportunities within microbial solutions.

Launched in 2013, the strategy for the firm’s health and nutrition business unit focuses on raising awareness of the importance of scientific documentation of probiotic strains through collaborations with industry associations and key opinion leaders.

“Chr. Hansen is committed to keep unleashing the Power of Good Bacteria,”​ adds Graber, “I am proud that we will now strengthen our offering of probiotic concepts for women that can help to enable a balanced female microbiota, ultimately contributing to their well-being and quality of life.”

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