Brand building: Australia’s EZZ Life Sciences new chairman outlines R&D and international expansion plans
The ASX-listed firm only started producing its own brand of health supplements in 2020, mostly through third-party manufacturers, and now has more than 10 products in the market ranging from NMN, immunity, men’s health, children nutrition, digestive, skin health, energy to weight management.
EZZ also distributes the Eaoron brand of skin care products, comprising more than 20 products, manufactured by Australian United Pharmaceuticals.
The firm recently welcomed new chairman, Glenn Cross who is also non-executive director at EZZ.
NutraIngredients-Asia understands from Cross that EZZ is now focusing on R&D in four areas, switching to in-house manufacturing, and plans for international expansion, following its recent positive financial results.
In the FY21 annual report, the firm reported revenue growth of 29% to AU$22.3m (US$16m), exceeding the expected target by 25%.
The revenue contribution from EZZ’s own branded health supplements increased from 4% to 51%, diversifying the revenue mix away from the Eaoron branded skincare product distribution, and helping to grow its international footprint.
As part of its long-term strategic plan, the firm is now focusing genomic research and development on four areas, longevity, human papillomavirus (HPV), helicobacter pylori, and weight management.
From the research, the plan is to progressively launch EZZ-branded products in the upcoming year.
According to Cross, genomic research can help create treatment plans that are personalised and effective.
“Many people take supplements or pharmaceutical drugs, but a lot of the time, maybe only 20 or 30% of people will react to any particular treatment.
“I think what COVID-19 has done that we've all experienced over the last few years has made people look more closely at their lifestyle, managing their weight and managing their own personal health.
“It’s also pretty well established that obesity is a growing problem in countries throughout South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. So, we believe these areas offer significant opportunities.
“That's the reason why we looked at genomics. Genomics is about looking at people's own personal DNA, and genetic makeup and determining what diseases they may be susceptible.”
The firm also picked HPV and helicobacter pylori as significant problems in South East Asia as well as Australia.
“There's no real cure for HPV, but there's a number of treatments. We're working on some products in that area. For helicobacter pylori, it is a bacterium in the gut that causes discomfort, and current treatment is antibiotic administration. We're looking at some supplements that we believe can help alleviate the discomfort associated with helicobacter pylori.”
EZZ has a couple of products in the pipeline, and at the same time looking to manufacture in-house, which it currently outsources. According to EZZ’s acting chief executive officer and co-founder Mark Qin, the plan is to own a manufacturing facility by 2024.
In Australia and New Zealand, EZZ currently sells supplements on its D2C e-commerce site, pharmacy only distribution channels, and this year started stocking in membership warehouse Costco.
In China, the firm operates an online store on Tmall Global.
Next year, EZZ is keen to increase its distribution into South East Asia. Cross said: “The sales of our EZZ branded supplements and Eaoron skincare products have been successful in Australia and New Zealand and we're seeing growing sales in China. We believe that the products will be just as successful in the other South East Asian markets as well.”
The distribution channels it is hoping to enter in South East Asia are supermarkets, pharmacies, health food stores, and with a particular focus on e-commerce. It hopes to set up stores on major e-commerce platforms in places like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.