Ageing advances: Japanese pharma giant Teijin branches out into nutraceuticals for seniors
Drawing on the Teijin's abundant resources in R&D and clinical evaluation technology, NOMON — headed by president Kei Yamana — intends to develop science-backed functional products for older consumers.
This falls in line with Teijin's intention to take its business in a new direction in the long term by going beyond pharmaceuticals and healthcare to include products and services not currently covered by Japan's health insurance system.
Its first product, NADaltus, is a nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) supplement that comes in bottles of 30 capsules each.
NMN is a key intermediate compound of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), a coenzyme required for fundamental biological processes. It occurs naturally in breastmilk and certain vegetables, albeit in small amounts, and is considered a vital element for maintaining a variety of cellular functions.
Known for its anti-ageing properties, NMN is said to be able to suppress age-associated weight gain, boost metabolism, and improve insulin sensitivity and ocular health.
Strict standards for senior health
Like NAD+, however, it decreases with age. This spurred NOMON to develop and launch NADaltus as its debut product, at the same time establishing the brand's emphasis on traceability.
According to NOMON, each capsule contains 125mg of NMN, which is traceable from the raw material procurement stage all the way through to production and sales.
Furthermore, the entire sourcing, manufacturing and packaging process is conducted and controlled in Japan, strictly at cGMP-certified food factories, and the raw materials used for the product are ISO 9001-certified.
While company spokeman Ryusuke Kawachi declined to reveal details about the product's formulation due to a non-disclosure agreement, he said that consumers could be assured that it satisfied domestic GMP standards.
He was similarly tight-lipped about NOMON;s plans to expand its portfolio, only saying it would take place "soon after the launch of NADaltus".
"NOMON's slogan is that 'life is long', and the brand will support productive ageing to help people maximise their potential of enjoying more fulfilling lives," he said.
Changing and growing
While Teijin itself has a highly varied portfolio across 170 companies in 20 countries in the fields of high-performance fibres, IT, resin and plastic processing, films, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, the group has taken note of the increasing health consciousness of Japanese consumers and acted accordingly.
The group posted consolidated sales of US$8.1bn (¥888.6bn) and total assets of US$9.3bn (¥1020.7bn) in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019.
Kawachi told NutraIngredients-Asia: "Teijin has developed medical drugs and devices for over 30 years, so it has extensive drug discovery and clinical development skills.
"This will no doubt benefit NOMON in helping to develop functional ingredients and nutraceutical products for the ageing population in Japan."
He added that while NOMON will take advantage of Teijin's research and clinical testing expertise, NOMON has consigned the production of its nutraceuticals to a third-party Japanese manufacturer.
He further said, "For now, NOMON’s products will be sold only online (via its official web store).
"The brand has not made a decision on which brick-and-mortar store it may want to sell its products in, but there is a possibility that it will start selling them at more premium locations, such as high-end department stores or even luxury hotels."
In terms of overseas expansion, NOMON has set its sights on Europe and Asia, with China as a priority.
Kawachi further said, "Of course, there is a possibility we will sell NOMON's products in the wider APAC region in future."
He explained that the products would be premium nutraceuticals with price points to match, a factor that would influence NOMON's expansion decisions.
"While we have not decided which APAC countries (besides China) we would like to export NOMON's products to, I think the targets would be emergent, economically stable countries such as Singapore."