The global nutraceutical contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) recently appointed Lesina as the new GM in Europe to drive forward a strategy of targeting small and medium brands launching novel nutraceutical formulations.
Having previously worked at Lonza as executive director, Lesina’s appointment aims to further strengthen the company's strategy to become the nutraceutical R&D hub for brands looking for agile partners with large scientific and development resources.
The company is specifically looking to nurture new partnerships with large nutrition brands across the major European markets, leveraging its formulation and manufacturing expertise in Germany and China.
Lesina says she anticipates significant growth for SIRIO in the nutra market "as customers see the benefits of working with an agile CDMO
“I envisage our growth will come as a true CDMO partner, with customers attracted by our large scientific teams to help them bring to market truly innovative and unique formulations.
“We are different in that we extremely well integrated in our global reach with teams in the US, China and Europe – but also in our approach to pushing the boundaries of nutraceutical product development."
She adds that the company's large R&D centres in China and Europe help ensure brands can quickly develop ideas into new products.
"And that’s not just in term of ingredients, formulation options, and stability testing, but also in the vital USPs that mark-out good products from great products. So we invest time and resources to develop nutraceuticals that not only deliver dose effectively, but are enjoyable for the consumer – with taste, texture and appearance a key part of our development process."
The company sees big opportunity areas to grow internationally as a development and manufacturing partner.
“We expect to see big growth over the next few years in nutraceuticals with new brands, new products and potentially even pharma companies launching new extension products into the nutraceutical space," adds Lesina.
“We are seeing shifts in consumer trends towards more and more plant-derived ingredients, from botanicals to plant-based proteins – with consumers increasingly looking for high-quality products at affordable prices. Therefore, one of the biggest areas of innovation is how we can combine natural ingredients and bioavailable dosages, along with the most popular dosage forms.
"For example, at CPHI next month we will be showcasing to potential partners our new range of manuka honey gummies along with a unique, center-filled gummy sleep and stress formula – combining natural botanicals with Melatonin...
"We also see opportunities in sports nutrition and beauty, while immunity boosting and general wellness remain huge post Covid, but most of all gummies are going to grow and grow in popularity – it’s the only dosage that can combine health benefits with a product that has superior, consumer-friendly experiential quality in terms of taste, texture and appearance."
Prior to five years at Lonza (and Capsugel) in senior executive roles, Lesina spent six years at Cargill’s food and beverages division and is widely known across the industry for her ability to identify new market opportunities and help customers tap major growth trends.
Rui Yang, Vice President at SIRIO Pharma added: “Sara brings with her a tremendous global network and what impressed us is the clarity of purpose to establish SIRIO as the contract research and development hub for the most ambitious global brands. Across Europe there is an increasing number of companies launching new products that could reduce their time to market and/or acquisition by working with SIRIO. Sara’s remit will be to help develop locally relevant formulatory options, working as the European conduit to access SIRIO’s global R&D resources.”