Cough syrup Pei Pa Koa maker enters healthy ageing space with NMN product

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

NJHealth's first supplement launched is a NMN product for healthy ageing. ©NJHealth
NJHealth's first supplement launched is a NMN product for healthy ageing. ©NJHealth

Related tags Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa NMN

Nin Jiom, the Hong Kong-based company known for its cough syrup product Pei Pa Koa, is venturing into the healthy ageing supplement space with a NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) product set to launch in Singapore.

The company showcased its new business subsidiary, known as NJHealth, as well as the NMN product – also its first product – during the “Unlock Healthy Longevity Supplements Conference”.

The conference was organised by National University Singapore’s Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine between February 29 and March 1.

Known as NMN 20000mg, the single ingredient product, is set to launch first in Singapore via e-commerce in Q2 this year.

It claims to be a NAD+ Booster and claims to “support DNA repair” and comes with a suggested dosage of two capsules per day. Each bottle contains 100 capsules containing 200mg of NMN each and will be retailed at between SGD$200 and $250.

Made in Japan, the product was developed with GeneHarbor’s founder and CEO professor Jun Wang, who served as the biological R&D advisor and engineer.

Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, ​Gustav Chan, director and general manager, Nin Jiom Medicine Manufacturing HK Ltd, said that the move was intended to diversify the company’s business while remaining rooted to its expertise in herbal and natural-based products.

Founded in 1946, the company started with its Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa cough syrup and later branched into herbal candies and traditional Chinese medicines products – which are its three key pillars.

“If a company wants to look for continuous growth, three pillars are not enough,” ​he said This is especially when Chinese herbal products tend to face long regulatory approval periods, he said.

“If we were to concentrate on TCM for new product introduction, whether it's cough syrup for respiratory health other ailments, it’s not good enough for long-term expansion.

“This is especially so for Chinese herbal products that are classified as medicinal products. The launch of such a product would require a long time as it could face the same constraints as Western medications because of the need to go through clinical trials from animals to eventually human studies.”

The entire process could be both time consuming and costly.

The plan is therefore to diversify into herbal or natural-based health supplements that face less regulatory constraints as compared to medicinal products.

“We are diversifying our business, but we will still maintain our strength as an herbal-based, natural product company,” ​he said.

Why NMN?

According to Chan, the NMN supplement developed with GeneHarbor is produced via enzymatic processes and this is in line with the company’s natural products approach.

The company believes that this would give it an edge in positioning its NMN products differently from its competitors.

“We have partnered with technical advisor, GeneHarbor, whose founder found a new, natural way to produce and manufacture NMN that uses enzymes,”​ he said.

GeneHarbor has developed a biotech platform named Immobilised Enzyme Assembly for Cascade Biocatalysis that uses industrial enzymes and proprietary technologies and enzyme-based manufacturing processes to produce NMN.

Currently, NMN could be produced​ via biosynthesis, namely enzymatic and fermentation-based methods using genetically engineered microorganisms or via chemical synthesis.

It is the direct precursor of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) – a naturally occurring molecule in human cells and its levels decline with age.

Increasing NAD+ levels  have been shown to improve physical performance​ and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases,​ such as hypertension and arterial stiffness.

NMN market trends

During his presentation at the conference, Dr. Kevin Chu, GM, Nin Jiom Health Products Limited, also highlighted that the NMN market has been fast growing and has surpassed that of other supplements, including ginseng, coenzyme Q10, and propolis.

The ingredient rose to prominence in China about three years ago for its longevity health claims.

The NMN market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20.2 per cent between 2022 and 2031 and there is accumulating evidence of its benefits for human health based on clinical trials.

Dr. Chu said that there were currently 15 trials assessing the effects of NMN, with the trials taking place in China and Japan etc.

“We believe with clinical trial data on NMN, we expect the growth of NMN will increase, the data will accelerate market expansion and boosting reputation of NMN,” ​he said.

One of the promising findings, he said, was how supplementing 250mg of NMN daily for 12 weeks have shown to significantly improve certain aspects of muscle mobility​, such as gait speed and left grip strength. The study was funded by Mitsubishi Corporation Life Sciences, with findings published in Aging. ​ 

Other findings include its benefits in improving walking endurance based on a trial conducted by NMN supplier EffePharm on its ingredient marketed as Uthever.​ Findings of the trial was published in Frontiers in Aging​ in 2022.  

Tackling ageing-related health issues is also of interest to the company because it is behind various metabolic and degenerative health diseases, added Dr. Chu.

NMN market: Singapore still nascent while Hong Kong is overcrowded

With a nascent NMN market, health-conscious consumers, and good spending power, NJHealth believes that there is room for the NMN supplement market to flourish in Singapore.

In contrast, the Hong Kong market is overcrowded with NMN supplements – with over 30 brands of NMN products available, based on the company’s research. Singapore, on the other hand, has about six active NMN brands.

Moreover, the NMN supplement market in Hong Kong is heavily focused on its beauty effects, with its benefits for healthy ageing often overlooked.

Since the NMN market is relatively new to Singapore’s consumers, the company believes that there is more room to educate consumers on its holistic benefits for healthy ageing. 

“Singapore has an ageing population, and so it's perfectly right for us to launch the product here,”​ said Chan.

The supplement will be available through the company’s website as well as its Singapore distributor Luen Wah Medical from Q2 this year.

“We want to see how we fare in the Singapore market, because after all, we are launching a very premium health supplement, unlike what we have in our current portfolio, which are mass market products.

“If it proves to be doing well in Singapore, we will be looking at launching it in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. It all depends on what we are seeing and doing in Singapore. This is a very important market for us to learn from,” ​he said.

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