In January, the group inked an agreement with Indian firm Zeon Lifesciences Ltd, granting it an exclusive licence to manufacture and supply SlimBiome in the return in return for a 50% share of the profits.
Zeon is India’s leading manufacturer of nutraceutical and herbal products with expertise in developing custom formulations for the food, herbal, and pharmaceutical industries. The company's customers have included French food giant Danone as well as multinational Indian pharma firm Sun Pharmaceutical.
Aside from manufacturing the product, Zeon will also cover the registration costs of SlimBiome and any products containing it with the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India.
Stephen O'Hara, chief executive of OptiBiotix, said that the deal with Zeon was “an important step in optimising the supply chain to facilitate the needs of existing and new corporate partners in India and Southern Asia”.
The agreement with Zeon is the ninth deal for SlimBiome that the company has secured, and also the fifth manufacturing agreement.
In a note to clients, analysts at City broker finnCap said the deal was “another example of the building blocks OptiBiotix continues to put in place to commercialise its technology platforms”, adding that while it was “still too early to make meaningful forecasts”, the group’s commercial footprint “continues to expand with highly relevant and experienced partners”.
The deal in India follows on from a production, packaging and supply agreement for SlimBiome signed in November with Italian firm Nutrilinea, who will formulate and distribute SlimBiome Medical in boxes of 30 single sachet doses for sale across its network as well as to Opti’s growing list of partners.
The action in Europe didn’t stop there, as in December the firm secured a distributor for SlimBiome in Greece and the island nation of Cyprus.
The agreement grants the distributor exclusive distribution rights in Greece and Cyprus and first right of refusal for the Gulf States in return for meeting annual sales targets to retain exclusivity.
It isn’t the first time Opti has received good news from Greece and Cyprus, having also secured a three-year distribution contract for its LPLDL cholesterol and blood pressure product which covers the two countries.
The company received a boost at the end of November when SlimBiome was granted a CE mark, allowing it to be marketed within the European Economic Area (EEA) as well as providing eligibility for shortened medical product registration procedures in other markets such as China and the United Arab Emirates.
CE-marked products may also make medicinal or medical claims supported by clinical studies, a factor that would extend the application of SlimBiome from food products to medical products.
Subsidiary raises funds with eyes on IPO
Not wanting to be left out of the news cycle, Opti’s subsidiary, ProBiotix Health Limited, raised £1mln in mid-December to fund a potential IPO.
The spin-out forms a key part of Opti’s strategy of forming separate divisions that can eventually be spun out to form separate legal entities.
The money was raised through the issue of convertible loan notes, of which Opti has subscribed for around £250,000-worth. O'Hara has subscribed for £25,000 while certain close family members had subscribed for £265,000. In addition, Per Rehné, the company’s commercial director, subscribed for £25,000. The remaining subscribers include two institutional investors and two industry partners.
The CLNs can be converted at a 50% discount to the issue price of ProBiotix shares in the event of an IPO.
Strong share performance
The slew of deals hasn’t been lost on the market either, with the share price having risen around 40% over the last 12 months.
As of 7 January 2019, OptiBiotix shares are trading at around 94p, giving it a market cap of £77.1mln.