BLIS plans further NPD and APAC expansion on back of good performance and TGA approval

By Cheryl Tay

- Last updated on GMT

 BLIS recently received approval from Australian regulatory body the TGA for one of its probiotic strains. ©Getty Images
BLIS recently received approval from Australian regulatory body the TGA for one of its probiotic strains. ©Getty Images

Related tags Oral health Probiotics Australia China

New Zealand probiotics firm BLIS Technologies has its eye on new product development and APAC growth, spurred by its recent financial performance and an additional Australian regulatory approval.

Ahead of official sales figures to be released in May, the company reported that its annual revenue and earnings were better than expected, amid a steady rise in orders in the first quarter of this year.

Its EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) nearly hit US$573,960 (NZ$850,000), a stark contrast to its US$284,960 (NZ$422,000) loss in the previous year.

Additionally, the firm's year-on-year revenue increased from US$3.6m (NZ$5.3m) to US$5.6m (NZ$8.3m), with pre-tax profit reported at around US$236,350 (NZ$350,000).

The company's shares also rose by 33% to 2.4 cents.

Regional revenue

According to CEO Brian Watson, the high number of orders from all of BLIS' markets in the APAC region, as well as Europe and North America, was responsible for its performance.

The firm's products are sold in over 5,000 pharmacies in Australia, and it received a large number of orders in the later part of Q1 to meet growing demand.

Watson said these orders would be included in the company's FY19 results, and it expected continued good performance in the coming financial year.

 He added that BLIS was already evaluating priority markets, and factors such as regulatory requirements would affect its timing in those markets.

Market targets

Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia​, Watson said its distribution partnership with iNova Pharmaceuticals will see it expand further in APAC and enter Africa.

Currently, the partnership covers Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Outside of that agreement, however, BLIS is targeting China.

"We are looking at cross-border e-commerce (CBEC) and daigou, as well as domestic opportunities in China. iNova Pharmaceuticals, is working through specific regulatory requirements in China and our other target markets ahead of any new finished products being launched in those markets."

New products, new channels

In addition to strong financial performance, BLIS has also received approval from Australian regulatory body the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for its probiotic strain, Streptococcus salivarius ​BLIS M18, for use as an active ingredient in the regulator’s Listed Complementary Medicines.

Last year, we reported that the company had received the same approval for its BLIS K12 product​.

Watson said: "We had been anticipating this approval, and now that we have it, we can accelerate our plans to launch new products with iNova.

“What we're looking to do is launch oral care and dental health supplements. We're considering the use of K12 for managing bad breath, and we're also looking at teeth and gum health product compositions with M18," he said.

The company is also considering diversifying its sales channels; it currently relies solely on the pharmaceutical channel.

"We're constantly assessing other channels, but what we like about the pharmacy channel is that there are pharmacy staff who are trained and can help position the product effectively for consumers, so that would typically be our first market opportunity.

“However, we will constantly look at other channels, such as specialty health food stores and grocery stores.

"We'll also continue to assess opportunities in the functional food space, and we recognise that probiotics have great potential there. We don't have specific plans at the moment, but we will keep an eye on the market and look at new product development opportunities."

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