Sage advice: Epigenetics-based cognitive health supplement set for APAC launch

By Cheryl Tay

- Last updated on GMT

The sage-based product will launch across Asia Pacific and Australia in the third and fourth quarter of this year. ©iStock
The sage-based product will launch across Asia Pacific and Australia in the third and fourth quarter of this year. ©iStock

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A botanical cognitive health product designed by a spin-off from the University of Oxford will launch across Asia Pacific with the backing of an innovation development company.

Fenix Innovation Group, an Australian innovation development firm, is working with UK natural products company Sibelius to comprehensively research and maximise the benefits of sage via epigenetics-based testing.

Using the patented Sibelius Chronoscreen, a semi-automated proprietary technology that studies cellular aging via phenotypic screening, Sibelius has developed sage-based products to be launched across the region.

Speaking about the relationship between the two companies, Sharon Smithwick, Principal at Fenix Innovation Group, said, “We work closely with an investment fund out of Singapore in the biotech sector, Maoira Asset Management. This is how we came across Sibelius, which relies heavily on epigenetics-based testing; that caught our imagination.

“We became involved because it fits right into our niche programme of inventive, disruptive development. We all know sage, but we put it through our Chronoscreen technology, which is patented and currently used by our partners in the pharmaceutical world to understand how it changes epigenetics from a gene tagging point of view. We’ve been able to modify the technology and improve its efficacy because we know how it works now.”

Sibelius’ origins in the University of Oxford’s biochemistry department, led by Professor Jane Mellor (who has been published extensively in epigenetics and cellular biology), also attracted Fenix Innovation to Sibelius.

Clinical trials

Smithwick believes the strong scientific evidence behind sage’s health benefits is why Sibelius is gaining wide traction. “It improves cognitive function, and we know this at a genetic cellular level, because it’s actually modifying particular neuronal cells. That goes hand in hand with the data that’s been generated in the past, over small clinical trials. And now, we’re expanding into other nutraceuticals and actually having the opportunity to modify them.”

Last month, SIBELIUS:SAGE launched at a nutraceutical conference in London. Its first product is SIBELIUS SAGE for Seniors, a capsule formulation that was reportedly well received. The target demographic of seniors above 60 are thought to be the most willing to spend money on assistance with cognitive function, alertness and improvement.

The product will launch across Asia Pacific in the third and fourth quarter of this year. Smithwick added: “Apart from the final tablet or capsule formulated under our own branding, we will also be selling the raw bulk product to clients so they can formulate their own products.”

One such client is Amway in China. Smithwick said, “Amway will take our product, formulate it and put it into their final package. We will work under their branding, so they’ll do all the marketing and support work. We’re very keen on spreading the word on epigenetic science.”

She is also confident about consumer reception to the product, especially because of its epigenetic credentials. “We’re using Australia as the test market, (where) people are becoming more aware and starting to ask questions. They want to know what it does.”

As such, part of Fenix Innovation’s strategy for the Australian market is to use media such as TVSN (TV Shopping Network) to further consumer education. It also aims to have its products listed with Australia’s TGA (Therapeutic Goods Association).

Other target markets include Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan.

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