Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer of deaths globally, and in APAC, CVD prevalence is rising in the region home to 60% of people in the world.
“About 35% of the population in places like New Zealand, Australia and Singapore have CVD, in other areas like Thailand and Philippines, it’s about 20%,” said Stephen O'Hara, chief executive at OptiBiotix Health.
“It is a growing problem even in the latter countries, as industrialisation increases, and Western habits are introduced in their lifestyles.”
OptiBiotix has signed several deals with distributors in Singapore, India, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines and will see the CholBiome supplements distributed to pharmacies and hospitals this year.
All of the CholBiome series contain its patented probiotic strain Lactobacillus plantarum (branded LPLDL) to manage cardiovascular risk factors.
There are currently three products (CholBiome, CholBiome X3 and CholBiome BP), and a fourth (CholBiome VH) scheduled to launch in Q3 2021.
CholBiome (LPLDL only) helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, CholBiome X3 (LPLDL, monacolin K, vitamin B3) is for managing high cholesterol, CholBiome BP (LPLDL, vitamin B1, co-enzyme Q) manages high blood pressure, and CholBiome VH (LPLDL, vitamin B1, K2) helps to manage the build-up of cholesterol and calcium deposits in the blood vessels.
In Singapore, OptiBiotix had signed a deal with United Italian Trading Corporation (UITC) to distribute CholBiomeX3 into hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.
In India, it signed a deal with Akums Pharmaceuticals, who produces a third of India’s pharmaceuticals, to launch CholBiome X3 this year. Akums also has the exclusive rights to produce, supply and commercialise products containing LPLDL in the Indian market.
It is also working with Actial Farmaceutica, producer of the VSL 3 range of probiotic, for distribution of CholBiome supplements into Australia, Indonesia and Thailand.
In the Philippines, CholBiome X3 will be distributed by CTC Far East Philippines.
OptiBiotix is expected to release CholBiome VH, an extension to the CholBiome range later this year.
Ohara said the company hopes to create a cardiovascular health portfolio consisting supplements to manage three markers of CVD, cholesterol, blood pressure and plaque build-up.
“Cholesterol impacts your future risk of cardiovascular disease. If you have a combination of high blood pressure and cholesterol, it greatly increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. If you have calcium build-up (plaque) in your arteries, it can obstruct blood flow,” he explained.
The new supplement, CholBiome VH helps with normal blood clotting, directs calcium away from the arteries to prevent calcification, and contribute to the normal function of the heart.
CholBiome VH will launch in UK and EU first.
Scientific evidence and future developments
Its probiotic strain, LPLDL has been clinically backed for its efficacy.
In a 12-week human study, published in PLoS One (2017), the treatment group administered LPLDL saw a reduction in blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, but an increase in HDL.
For finished product CholBiomeBP, a 12-week human study in adults found a significant reduction in blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Findings were published in the Journal of Food and Nutrition Research (2020).
OptiBiotix is currently conducting a research project with Italy’s Fondazione Edmund Mach – Centro Ricerca e Innovazione (FEM) and the University of Southampton to study the role of its products including LPLDL, SlimBiome, WellBiome to improve sleep, stress and anxiety.
It will be double blind, placebo controlled, human study carried out during a period of stress induced sleep disruption.
Other upcoming developments include a new completed study assessing LPLDL’s ability to reduce cholesterol, especially LDL, which is comparable to statin without the side effects. The findings will be published soon.
From these findings, the company is exploring the potential to enter the pharma route in developing LPLDL into a drug.
In October last year, OptiBiotix’s partner, Seed Health received FDA authorisation for an Investigational New Drug (IND) application for DS-01, a multi-species, multi-strain probiotic which contains LPLDL.
This regulatory acceptance allows DS-01 to enter a Phase II randomised, triple-blind, and placebo-controlled clinical trial to investigate the role of the gut microbiome in patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the impact of DS-01 on intestinal microbial communities.
According to O'Hara, sales had doubled for the company last year, amid the pandemic.
“We also managed to increase our margins by about 5%,” he added.