Nestle and Valbiotis in prediabetes partnership

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Last week, French-based R&D company Valbiotis signed a global long-term strategic partnership with Nestle Health Science for the development and commercialisation of Totum-63, a patented combination of five plant extracts specifically designed to reduce the risk of developing T2 diabetes in prediabetics. According to reports, Nestle Health Science will pay CHF5mn (US$5.1mn) upfront, development & sales milestone payments up to CHF66mn (US$68mn) and tiered royalties on net sales. The partnership will support Valbiotis’ work in a number of ways, including funding the latest clinical development phase until health claims are obtained in USA and Europe. 

Back in September 2019, Valbiotis released positive results from the Phase IIa study of Totum-63, revealing that it met its primary endpoint of reducing fasting blood glucose levels among 51 participants who received 5g / day or placebo for six months. The full results show that Totum-63 also met secondary endpoints, significantly reducing blood triglyceride levels by 32.2%, fatty liver index by 18.7%, arterial hypertension in hypertensive people and blood LDL cholesterol levels by 11.7% vs placebo. A preclinical study (in mice) also found that Totum-63 corrected blood levels of insulin, glucagon and glucagon-like peptide-1, hormones central to the regulation of blood glucose. At the time, Valbiotis CEO Sebastien Peltier said these results pave the way for new opportunities in “promising markets”, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver or arterial hypertension.

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Diabesity was one of the chapters in our recent signature New Paradigms report, with one section looking at the huge potential of supplements for diabetes management. However, many of these are local brands that have only managed to carve out a small niche in their respective markets. The potential for a CHC brand for prediabetes / diabetes with a truly global scale is vast. According to Valbiotis, there are an estimated 900mn people worldwide that are prediabetic, and around 700mn people globally are forecast to contract T2 diabetes by 2045.

Nicholas Hall Writes: When Nestle walked away from the Merck Consumer Health bidding in February 2018, citing high price expectations, I wondered what that meant for the Health Science strategy. To judge by Valbiotis and other recent deals, Nestle seems more interested in buying new technologies than brands. Work we’ve done recently in this category has shown that there is a large population at risk of contracting diabetes, particularly in the Emerging Markets; but this prediabetes initiative will require vast amounts of consumer and HCP education. The question is whether the Valbiotis product, in the safe commercial hands of Nestle Health Science, can persuade consumers to take a pill for a condition they don’t yet have. But it’s worth the effort and could be a significant opportunity for both parties.

Join Nicholas Hall and Everything Health in New Jersey on 8 October 2020 to explore The Future is Now! Consumer Healthcare Reimagined with an optional workshop on 9 October hosted by The CHC Training Institute. To book your place and save with the early-bird booking discount, or to find out about sponsorship opportunities, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com.

Voice-activated tech shows potential for diabetes care

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Diabetes affects 422mn people worldwide, including 14% of the US adult population and people in low and middle-income countries such as China, India, Brazil and Indonesia. To successfully manage diabetes, people living with it need to be mindful of and track myriad things throughout their day, from blood sugar levels to counting calories. In recent years voice-activated technologies have become an important way of helping sufferers manage their disease.

In this regard, Danish pharmaceutical company, Novo Nordisk, has teamed up with Health Innovation Technology Lab (HITLAB) to launch the 2017 HITLAB World Cup of Voice-Activated Technology in Diabetes, awarding prizes totalling US$75,000.

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Participating innovators have been told to focus on enhancing patient outcomes, lowering healthcare costs and making the management of patients more efficient, with the goal of improving health and quality of life for diabetes sufferers.

Amy West, Senior Director, Patient Centric Marketing & Digital Health at Novo Nordisk commented: “We are constantly striving to provide solutions that minimise the burden for people living with diabetes, and believe that digital health, and specifically voice-activated technologies can be important tools for managing diabetes.”

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HITLAB has helped leading organisations create and evaluate technology-based solutions to pressing healthcare challenges for the past 25 years. Last year, 74 teams from 14 countries presented technology innovations that ranged from a tech-enabled dynamic scoliosis brace to a tool that uses 3D imaging and data analytics to better diagnose ear infections. Past winners have since raised over US$50mn in follow-on investment funding.

The submission period is currently open and will close on Wednesday 11th October. Finalists will be announced on 23rd October. They will make pitches at the HITLAB Innovators Summit, which will be held in New York City. Pitches will be judged by a panel of healthcare experts assigned by Novo Nordisk and HITLAB.

NHC North America Conference: Day 1

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Here we bring you a review of our first regional North American OTC Conference, which took place last week in Morristown, New Jersey, America’s central business hub for consumer healthcare.

Nicholas Hall opened proceedings with his Keynote address and annual report, reviewing recent successes in the US market, and noting a particularly successful cough and cold season. He also delved into the seven market drivers leading the current growth in OTC, the most popular being consumption by women and the ageing population.

This was followed by a gloves-off panel discussion, hosted by Mike Tarino, Principal of Tiltas Solutions. Mike was joined by Sandra Morris, former Senior Benefits Manager at Procter & Gamble, Mike Thompson, President & CEO at National Alliance of Healthcare and Dennis Marco, Managing Partner of Hamilton Public Affairs. The panel discussed and challenged what the administration of Trump meant for consumer healthcare and OTCs. Tarino highlighted drastic changes impacting US healthcare, with the costs for a family of four seeing a near US$20,000 increase in the past 16 years.

Ed Rowland provided an update on Boots UK and implications for the Walgreens Boots Alliance in the US, exploring the differences in UK and US marketing. Scott Emerson, Founder & CEO of the Emerson Group, shortly followed with a presentation on Innovation and how it isn’t quite what you think! Scott asserted that we need to think about what it is consumers are looking for in their products. Brands need to question their white space and ask ‘is it truly white space?’ when it comes to being innovative in branding. Scott also stressed that we must not be afraid to be patient when it comes to launching new products.

Finally, seeing us into our lunch hour, Geoff Betrus, Senior Director Shopper Solutions and Lynn Hall, Senior Director of Health and Wellness Solutions, both of J&J, explored consumer healthcare and retail partnerships, and how these can be integrated to deliver new consumer solutions. Geoff explored the current diabetes epidemic, emphasising the importance of Diabetes wellcare and how education for diabetic patients / carers is vital in understanding how to live with the disease. Lynn addressed the need for marketers to help people change their behaviour and attitudes towards their well being, and how this is something that can be achieved through motivation enhancement – that is to say by enhancing our abilities and creating opportunities.

After an informative morning, our delegates once again congregated for an afternoon of presentations focusing on reaching new heights in consumer healthcare. The afternoon session began with Monica Wood, VP Global Consumer Healthcare and Member Insights for Herbalife Nutrition, detailing key learnings for OTC companies in benchmarking the direct selling industry to generate sales. Monica was swiftly followed by Tine Hansen-Turton, who discussed the value proposition of convenient care and how retail-based healthcare clinics can build a culture of consumer-driven healthcare.

After a brief networking break and injection of caffeine, Thierry Garrier, Director of Marketing, Dietary Supplements NA at DSM, presented some of the new technological advances in consumer healthcare, such as bone density scanners, blood cholesterol testing and lutein vision health, an area of tremendous growth. Thierry also showed us Vitascan, a finger prick blood test which gives results in ten minutes on a smart phone! Certainly food for thought in an industry constantly searching for the latest unique selling point!

Our closing presentation from Patrick Spear, President & CEO for trade association Global Market Development Centre, analysed how health & wellness can be packaged as a retail strategy, allowing marketers to meet consumer expectations. Patrick discussed the difference between the ‘consumer’ and the ‘shopper’, emphasising that the consumer holds the ambition but the shopper holds the reality of the purchase. Patrick also analysed some of the ‘disruptive innovations’ in the OTC industry; products such as wearables, which 70% of millennials now own. Patrick insisted that we must navigate towards health & awareness in the industry, enhancing transparency by connecting, collaborating, creating and using commerce.

OTCs in Action Episode 47: Natural Sucanon approved to treat Type II diabetes

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Last week, OTCs were in Action in Canada, where Sucanon has been evaluated by regulatory authorities, and is now a licensed natural health product for treating Type 2 diabetes.

Marketed by PharmaRoth Laboratories, Sucanon is an insulin sensitiser, lowering a patient’s blood sugar by increasing the muscle, fat and liver’s sensitivity to the body’s own naturally produced insulin. The product is also available as an OTC in Mexico, but has Rx status in China and Peru.

Last year, the US FDA denied PharmaRoth’s New Dietary Ingredient application for Sucanon to be sold as a nutraceutical. According to the US agency, the active ingredients, derived from a dried root and a form of molybdenum, should be classified as a drug.

OTCs in Action will be watching with interest this product’s expansion to various countries as PharmaRoth seeks to give diabetics access to safe and effective treatment. The brand’s tagline is:

Sucanon … Diabetes is not curable but is treatable … enjoy life.