Last month, the firm launched US-based medical nutrition firm Signutra's powdered health supplement, Maxvida, in Vietnam.
Along with 32 key ingredients — including essential amino acids, complex carbohydrates, and biotin — Maxvida contains Certi5, a proprietary blend of five signature ingredients: dual protein (milk protein and the soy protein isolate SUPRO), soluble and insoluble dietary fibre, antioxidants (vitamins C and E, and selenium), haemo nutrients (iron, folic acid, riboflavin and vitamins B6 and B12) and bone nutrients (calcium, magnesium and vitamins D and K).
The product is said to support nervous system function and healthy bowel movements, help to maintain bone and muscle mass, and facilitate normal blood formation.
Mundipharma is now assessing other APAC countries to decide where else in the region it will distribute the product, though it has not confirmed which markets it is prioritising.
CEO Raman Singh told NutraIngredients-Asia: "We are excited about the healthcare benefits (of Maxvida) for patients and consumers, so we are currently evaluating other markets and hope to share more details in the near future."
Dietary gaps in the developing world
Singh acknowledged the importance of improving nutrition in developing economies in the APAC region as part of the company's expansion strategy.
Explaining the reason behind Mundipharma's decision to enter the nutraceutical sector, he said: "We decided to enter the segment because of our increasing awareness of the role nutrition can play in preventive healthcare.
"Nutraceutical products fill gaps created by poor diet or nutrition, and boost people's well-being while also playing a therapeutic role in improving recovery from illness.
"They are particularly important for developing economies such as Vietnam, where there is a high prevalence of non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular ailments, and lung disorders."
A 2016 report by Vietnam's Ministry of Health stated that 65.4% of the country's seniors were facing health issues, while a study led by Abbott Nutrition found that 77% of elderly patients were at considerable risk of malnutrition.
Partnerships and production
While Mundipharma's nutraceutical business is fairly new and it is therefore unable to provide specific information on new product development, Singh said the firm was "looking forward to announcing more details about our plans in due course".
For now, the company is focusing on establishing Maxvida in Vietnam, as well as introducing it to other markets in the APAC region.
According to Singh, Mundipharma began distributing nutraceutical products only earlier this year, but this latest move is already a testament to how quickly its consumer health portfolio is expanding — "from just antiseptics a few years ago to a wide range of categories and a large number of products today".
Currently, the Singapore-headquartered company's network of independent, privately owned associated firms cover the pharmaceutical markets in APAC, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa, where it provides novel treatment options in fields such as oncology, ophthalmology, respiratory diseases, and consumer healthcare.
Singh said, "Mundipharma is constantly looking for and evaluating partnerships that enable us to use our marketing and distribution network and capabilities to provide healthcare solutions to more patients and consumers.
"We're excited to work with Signutra to provide this excellent product in Vietnam, where nutrition is an issue, because it provides significant health benefits for consumers and patients.
"We will be actively planning a wider roll-out of Maxvida and will also continue to expand our nutraceuticals portfolio."
He added that the supplement would be "as widely available as possible" to consumers in Vietnam, including via e-commerce, where it will be made available later this year.