BioGaia 'is approaching profitability'

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Lactobacillus

Swedish probiotic biotech company BioGaia is making headway in its
short-term mission to attain profitability, reporting a 39 percent
increase in sales to SEK 16.4 million for 3Q 2005.

Operating losses for the quarter ended September 30 were reduced from SEK -4.2 million last year to -1.4 million. The picture for the year to date also looks promising, with an operating result of SEK -6.8 million, compared to SEK -18.1 for the first nine months of fiscal 2004.

"With a largely stable cost level, increased sales to existing customers and new sales from existing contracts already signed, BioGaia is approaching profitability,"​ it said in a statement.

"In view of the company's strong portfolio of innovative products, successful clinical trials and a growing distribution network covering a large share of the key markets, BioGaia's future outlook is bright."

The latest quarter was marked by the positive study results, which are expected to give a further positive spin to sales.

A study presented at the European Society for Paediatric Research Meeting in Siena, Italy, found that BioGaia's probiotic Reuteri drops (lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus reuteri) appear to reduce the symptoms of colic in breast-feeding infants - meaning they could offer a natural, more effective alternative to conventional treatment.

Last quarter the drops were crediting with boosting European sales for the company, which has traditionally generated most of its revenue in Asia. They are now available in Italy, Finland, South Africa and Sweden, and new markets are expected to open up shortly.

"Doctors really like it and the product is now an easy sell,"​ managing director Peter Rothschild told NutraIngredients.com in August.

Several clinical trials presented at scientific conferences in September also indicate that Reuteri reduces the level of infection and gastrointestinal symptoms caused byHelicobacter pylori, which can cause gastric ulcers and long-term infection leading to stomach cancer. Reuteri was also seen to alleviate the side effects of the antibiotics normally used to treat the infection.

"Since H. pylori infections are a widespread global problem, these resultsare expected to strongly contribute to sales of the Company's products,particularly tablets," said the company.

Throughout the quarter, yoghurt products containing Reuteri have rolled out in two key markets: first, Uni-President introduced a yoghurt product in Taiwan during the summer (the China launch is expected to follow at the beginning of next year); then, in September, Skånemejerier launched a yoghurt beverage with Reuteri in Sweden under the brand name Prima Liv.

Reuteri tablets were also launched in Hong Kong this month, by J Health Enterprise.

On the packaging side, however, BioGaia suffered a setback in the quarter as adjustments to its patented bottlecap LifeTop Cap, required by an agreement with a French company to launch the cap with Reuteri in France and Belgium, have taken longer than expected. Production has therefore been delayed, and the launch date has still to be set.

Related topics: Market Trends

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