Bone health probiotic: BioGaia to launch Osfortis in China via cross-border e-commerce

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

BioGaia is launching Osfortis, a probiotic product for bone health, in China. © Getty Images
BioGaia is launching Osfortis, a probiotic product for bone health, in China. © Getty Images

Related tags: Biogaia, Probiotics, Bone health, China

BioGaia is launching its bone health probiotic, Osfortis, into China via cross-border e-commerce (CBEC) channel – its first Asian market for the product.

Osfortis contains the proprietary lactic acid bacterium Limosilactobacillus reuteri ​ATCC PTA 6475 and vitamin D3 for the maintenance of normal bone health.

This will add on to existing range of products available in China, including its flagship product Protectis baby drops for infant colic, oral health probiotics Prodentis, and Gastrus, a probiotic for gut health.

These products are sold in China via CBEC and medical professionals.

At the moment, Osfortis is also sold in the US and Europe. 

Biogaia Osfortis
Osfortis

Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia,​ regional manager and office head of BioGaia APAC, Hok Ting Yau, said the demand for probiotics has been growing in the past year.

For Osfortis, the company is planning to launch the product via CBEC to assess the initial market feedback first, before deciding on a suitable partnering company to promote the product offline.

Apart from China being one of the most important markets for BioGaia in APAC, the CBEC channel itself offers a flexible business model for us to provide our exclusively premium products to the Chinese customers in the early stage of our global commercialisation phase,”​ he said.

The target audience for this capsule product are health conscious individuals who want to prevent osteoporosis from developing, he said.

There are also plans to launch Osfortis in Japan and South Korea.

China

BioGaia saw a yoy growth of 20 per cent in China, mostly coming from online sales, between FY2019 and FY2020.

This is due to both organic market penetration and the Chinese government’s promotion of probiotic use.

Whilst part of the growth came from organic market penetration, during the pandemic, the awareness of probiotics also rose especially when the Chinese government initially published a notice in late Jan last year.

“The notice suggested that ‘gut microflora modulating agent may be used to maintain and balance the level of the gut microflora, to prevent secondary bacterial infection’ as a recommended alternative treatment for severe and critical COVID-19 cases,” ​Hok said.

A bestseller is Protectis baby drops containing vitamin D. It contains Limosilactobacillus reuteri ​Protectis (L. reuteri​ DSM 17938) as the probiotic strain, which has been shown to provide gut comfort, while vitamin D is added to promote normal function of the immune health.

Hok said the company would focus on two areas for China this year. 

“Our focus will also be to strengthen our current paediatric line and also to explore new sales channels [including offline] for our other products [including Prodentis and Gastrus].”

The company is also organising an educational event for invited doctors in China this year as part of its BioGaia Academy Expert Programme.

The purpose is to connect medical professionals and professors to elevate their understanding of probiotics, Hok explained.

Two clinical trials are also planned to take place in China.

Osfortis’ clinical trial findings

A trial conducted in elderly women found that the probiotic strain used in Osfortis could reduce the loss of bone mineral density as compared to the placebo.

The RCT​ involved 90 women between 75 and 80 years old with low bone mass density.

The intervention group took 100bn CFU of Limosilactobacillus reuteri ​6475 daily for 12 months. Results showed that the reduction in total volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD) was significantly lower in the intervention group than in the placebo group.

The total vBMD was reduced by 0.83 per cent in the intervention group and 1.85 per cent in the placebo group.

Japan the biggest in APAC 

According to Hok, Japan is the company’s biggest market in APAC, driven by the popularity of the oral health probiotics Prodentis. This product is distributed by professional dentists in Japan.

Almost a million boxes have been sold in the country, he revealed.

“The dental market in Japan is the most advanced in the entire Asia-Pacific, so it makes sense for us then to promote this product in Japan first.”

The next biggest market is China, while Vietnam and Indonesia are the up-and-coming markets.

The company plans to launch Prodentis in Malaysia by the end of this year.

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