The bulk of these partnerships will focus on botanical formulations for neurological functions, such as memory enhancement or addressing conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.
The contract manufacturing firm signed an MoU with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research–Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR-IIIM Jammu), where one of the key plans is to commercialise botanical formulations developed by the institute.
“We want to convert the knowledge that the institute has into commercial products. That is the basic thought process which initiated [the partnership].
“We are associated with many such universities, but we are collaborating with CSIR-IIIM Jammu for the first time,” Suresh Garg, MD at Zeon Lifesciences told NutraIngredients-Asia.
“We are into the contract manufacturing business, but for the last four or five years, we have been developing the company into a research-driven one,” Dr Girish Kumar Gupta, senior general manager at Zeon Lifesciences added.
The company has been in discussion with the institute for its saffron-based formula for managing neurological disorders, Dr Gupta said.
“These products that the IIIM has developed are for neurological disorders, for memory enhancement, and Alzheimer’s Disease. These products have been scientifically proven by IIIM and they are looking for some partners to go for commercialisation.
“We are going to launch the products in the domestic market as well as overseas markets. We are also going to be associated with CSIR-IIIM (Jammu) for some pre-clinical and clinical studies,” he said.
Aside from CSIR-IIIM, the company is partnering the Institute of Medical Sciences at Banaras Hindu University and SRM University, similarly for botanical ingredients that could address neurological disorders.
Garg pointed out that the purpose of such initiatives was to help individuals age better.
The other portfolios that Zeon Lifesciences is developing are phytopharmaceuticals and medical nutrition.
“The very important thing is that we are working very strongly on phyto-pharmaceuticals – this is a new area which has been introduced by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI),” Dr. Gupta said.
Phyto-pharmaceuticals include purified and standard fraction with defined minimum four bio-active or phyto-chemical compound of an extract of a medicinal plant or its part for diagnosis, treatment, mitigation, or prevention of any disease or disorder.
The company is also developing these products for neurological conditions including AD, brain health, and also age-related bone disorders.
For medical nutrition, the company hopes to introduce new products such as plant-based protein powder for diabetes management and diabetic nephropathy.
This is considered a new portfolio for the company.
“For these, we are associated with the National Institute of Immunology, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) Hyderabad, and the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) Mohali.
“We are working on certain products for immunomodulatory effects, age-related bone disorders, and various formulations which with therapeutic benefits,” said Dr. Gupta.
What’s in trend
Plant-based protein, vegan and organic raw materials are the trending categories in the nutraceutical industry, according to the company’s observations.
“Our clients are asking for various products and there is a shift towards plant-based protein powder which have been supplemented with standardised herbs for special therapeutic benefits,” Dr. Gupta said.
Most of these products, he said, would be launched into the Indian market under the Food for Special Dietary Uses (FSDU), which would allow such products to make therapeutic claims.
Sales of vegan and organic products have also increased by about 10 to 15 per cent in the past year.
“But based on the dynamics, maybe in another one year, the growth could be 25 to 30 per cent,” Gupta said.
About 25 to 30 per cent of the brands that the company is working with are from overseas firms, while the remaining ones are from local companies.