Sublingual supplements: Australian nutraceutical brand using patented technology to expand product range in APAC
The brand, which is the nutraceutical arm of Australian pharmaceutical firm iX Bio Pharma, has used its parent company's WaferiX technology to develop LumeniX, a supplement Entity says can not only brighten complexion and improve skin elasticity, but can also benefit those suffering from eczema.
The key ingredient is glutathione, a powerful antioxidant produced by the human body that scavenges free radicals. In terms of skincare, it is said to support healthy cell function and in turn, boost hydration and collagen production.
Eczema and other immune disorders have been attributed to cellular oxidation and depleted glutathione levels in the body. Glutathione is said to help alleviate eczema by reducing oxidative stress and regulating the body's inflammatory response.
LumeniX purportedly works to increase the body's glutathione levels, especially since the body produces less with age, even for healthy individuals, as reactive oxygen species builds up and eventually causes cellular stress and death.
But what makes this product different from other supplements containing glutathione, according to commercial director Eva Tan, is its absorption rate and efficiency, supported by its delivery format and the technology behind it.
It is a sublingual supplement, meant to be placed under the tongue, where it quickly dissolves and is then absorbed directly into the bloodstream. This means that unlike oral supplements, the glutathione is not exposed to stomach acids and therefore, is not broken down in the gastrointestinal tract before it can take effect.
Tan told NutraIngredients-Asia that the patented WaferiX technology was invented in 2008, and had been used in several pharmaceutical applications before LumeniX was developed.
She added, "Not all sublinguals are created equal. One of our pharmaceutical products was tested in a clinical trial, and it showed that our technology delivered the active ingredient two to three times faster than the other sublingual drug used."
The 'next generation' of nutraceuticals?
Launched at the end of last year, Entity is the nutraceutical arm of iX Biopharma, an Aussie pharmaceutical firm that was listed on the SGX in 2015.
The Melbourne-based company has a pharmaceutical business unit, manufacturing facility, and what Tan says is the largest chemical analysis testing laboratory in Melbourne.
After years of being a purely pharmaceutical business, iX Biopharma decided to branch out into nutraceuticals, which led to the creation of Entity Health in its Singapore debut in 2017.
Tan said, "What we really wanted to do with the soft launch (of Entity) was to get feedback on market data and acceptance.
"We launched immediately with 12 products, each targeting specific conditions, backed by scientific data, and formulated with a unique formulation determined by our PhD scientists.
"This team of scientists are the same ones who came from our pharmaceutical unit, so they have capabilities that, frankly, other health supplement companies don't have.
"Most health supplement companies — even in Australia, which is known for its health supplements — don’t have huge R&D teams. Most of them sell very generic vitamins and minerals, so they don’t need huge R&D teams.
"They give you ingredients that will replenish whatever deficiencies you may have. I’m not saying it's not important — it could be your first-line strategy towards achieving a healthier lifestyle, but it won't address a therapeutic condition or provide you with a therapeutic benefit.
"What that does is (provide) the first level (general nutrition). What we have is the second level. We like to say our products are the next generation of nutraceuticals and health supplements."
These products — all of which are formulated, developed and manufactured in Australia — cover a wide range of applications, including stress relief, energy and vitality, skincare, mood enhancement, hangovers, bone and joint health, and metabolic syndrome.
Strategies and statistics
Interestingly, Entity Health is not actively pursuing a retail presence in Singapore, where its products are available online. Other APAC countries are also on their radar for online sales, but Tan could not reveal any details.
She said that the brand's strategy was focused on Australia at the moment, concentrating on R&D and product range before looking at other avenues for sale.
One of the main reasons for this is the significant difference between how Australians and Singaporeans approach nutraceuticals, and by extension, pharmacies that stock such products, and the pharmacists who work there.
Tan explained: "Statistics show that 92% of Australians visit pharmacies at least once a week to stock up on their health supplements. They speak less to their doctors and more to their pharmacists, and don't shop online as much as Singaporeans do.
"Singaporeans rely a lot on their own research, as well as doctors. They expect them to know everything, which isn't really fair to them as they are not trained in pharmaceuticals.
"Singapore pharmacies are also more like general convenience stores, so Singaporeans in general are not in the habit of approaching pharmacists for advice, which is why going into pharmacies is not an important sales strategy for us in Singapore. We find that being online is sufficient as a first step."
Entity Health has also applied for assessment by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), for official approval of the safety and quality of its nutraceutical products. iX Bio Pharma itself has successfully obtained 15 product listings on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG), with eight listings for domestic sales and seven for export sales.