Medlab-API deal to drive 'serious' nutraceutical commercialisation through Australian pharmacies

By Cheryl Tay

- Last updated on GMT

Medlab CEO Dr Sean Hall believes the company's unique features will afford it an advantage when it comes to expansion.
Medlab CEO Dr Sean Hall believes the company's unique features will afford it an advantage when it comes to expansion.

Related tags Pharmaceutical formulation Nutraceutical Australia

Australian medical R&D facility Medlab Clinical will see its nutraceutical product range sold at Priceline Pharmacy, one of the country's largest pharmacy groups, thanks to a deal with Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API).

Under the agreement, API will also store Medlab's nutraceuticals in its warehouses, with the potential to significantly increase distribution to over 2,100 independent pharmacies in Australia.

The agreement is expected to bring about a notable increase in sales within the year after the official launch.

Patented proof

Medlab CEO Dr Sean Hall believes the company's unique features will afford it an advantage when it comes to expansion.

He said Medlab's offerings undergo rigorous clinical research, and the company currently has 27 patents spanning a great number of nutraceutical products.

Among them are Medlab's NanoCelle products, which feature the company's eponymous patented delivery platform. NanoCelle delivers nanoparticle-sized molecules of the product for oral buccal mucosa​ absorption, bypassing the gastrointestinal tract so it is not broken down by stomach acids.

Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia​, Hall said: "Our target patient population consists of those with chronic diseases. More specifically, we target diabetes, pre-diabetes and depression. We're also active in the oncology area.

"Our research in these fields led us to start our nutraceutical brand. Some of the product formulations that have been taken up by Priceline are the same ones in current Phase III RCTs for depression. In other cases, the same formulations are being used in studies on chemotherapy patients.

"We've been able to adapt our portfolio, so we actually have a VMS (vitamins, minerals and supplements) range for which we hold 27 patents. These are all backed by research, and I'm not talking about a bunch of naturopaths sitting around a computer playing with Google.

"I'm talking about research on humans, and our purpose is to find new therapeutic tools for patients suffering from chronic diseases. We're looking at preventative measures for those with risk factors for such diseases, people with advanced stage chronic diseases who need serious treatment, and people in the middle who are exposed to or at risk of such diseases and are seeking restorative medication."

He added that many of such patients would go through "an explicit lifestyle modification programme" ​to ensure they did not revert to their status quo.

Well-researched nutraceuticals, he said, alongside drug tech approved by various regulatory agencies around the world, gave Medlab a "rather holistic and defined scope" ​as to what such patients were looking for.

He also mentioned that much of Medlab's research centred around the human microbiome. The company has its own strain designations on seven to eight types of bacteria in its probiotics, and Hall believes its patents from Australia and the US "show uniqueness in the application and therapy" ​of its products.

Fulfilling needs

In addition to the full range of existing nutraceutical products Medlab will stock at Priceline, the company has two new products that were manufactured overseas and are currently en route to Australia to add to the offerings at Priceline.

Hall told NutraIngredients-Asia​ he could not reveal any more details yet, but said more pharmacies carrying Medlab's nutraceutical supplements would soon be announced.

Ultimately, he said, the priority was to effectively commercialise these products to fulfil people's needs in as convenient and efficient a manner as possible.

"When we look at the VMS side of things, we're looking at how we can package our science into a convenient platform for patients, whereas when we're dealing with drug tech, it's about what delivers the medicine they need at this point in life, irrespective of the route of administration.

"At our AGM last October, one of the priorities for 2019 that I presented to our shareholders was that we would turn up the commercialisation of our nutraceuticals in Australia. What you are starting to see now is us fulfilling that."

As for whether Medlab would consider expanding the range and distribution of its nutraceutical products outside of Australia, Hall said the company had already received interest from Germany, the UK, the US, and Hong Kong.

It also has a small reseller in Singapore, as well as expat clinics in Hong Kong that purchase its products.

Hall added: "One of them even resells our products for us. On top of that, there are a number of TCM physicians in Australia and Malaysia who have taken up our products."

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