OptiBiotix Health PLC (LON:OPTI) Chief Executive Officer Stephen O’Hara caught up with DirectorsTalk to discuss their recent scientific and commercial update
Q1: Now Stephen you recently put out a scientific and commercial update, first off can you tell us a bit more about the scientific update?
A1: OptiBiotix has made a lot of progress in the last 6 months and is presenting this at a major European microbiome summit later on this week and these developments have the potential to significantly increase shareholder value and hence we felt the reason for the RNS. Let me try to give an oversight in terms of the significance of these findings for investors:
Most people are aware that in the last 2-3 years there’s been a growing understanding of the role of the microbiome in human health and this has led to many microbiome companies for example 4D Pharma having valuations in excess of half a billion pounds. Now these valuations reflect the size of the microbiome opportunity estimated to be in the region of a trillion dollars, however no-one in all that time has demonstrated an ability to change the microbiome in a way that improves health, Optibiotix’s research over the last 6 months has changed all of that.
We not only demonstrated that we can change the microbiome but we can do this in a very targeted way down to particular bacterial species so to use a metaphor it’s bit like being able to increase the growth rate of a particular species of tree in a forest which subsequently grows quicker than the other trees and dominates the forest. More importantly we have demonstrated about targeting a particular species for example a species that helps in producing cholesterol we can enhance that benefit so for example in the case of our cholesterol reducing strain we’ve been able to show a three-fold increase in the strain’s ability to lower cholesterol. So if you believe, as many health commentators do, that the microbiome will have a major impact on a prevention management of treatment of human disease in the future, having the ability to alter particular species, particular components of a patient’s microbiome, is a major step forward.
Q2: And on the commercial side, what can you tell me there?
A2: The commercial update was intended to provide investors with an update on the commercialisation of both our weight management product and our cholesterol product.
First, let’s look at the weight management product which has been a great success in terms of sales and also in terms of customer feedback with some great reviews on Amazon and in our short survey. We now have over 800 online customers, so remember we only launched this in July, we haven’t advertised this at all so this is all word of mouth, so 800 online customers in that period of time and some great customer reviews. The product’s on sale in wholefoods and they’ve reordered and restocked and we now export into Iceland, that’s the country as opposed to the shop, so sales are steadily growing, they’re currently at around 25-27K per month and this makes this part of the company a profitable business. As we move forward what we intend to do is to increase the number of sales outlets selling the GoFigure products and to increase the number of applications that contain OptiBiotix SlimBiome ingredients, this is the ingredient which is a component part of GoFigure which is hunger-free dieting. I’m sure investors will see that this area alone, just the weight management area, has the potential of a very very strong sales growth over the next few years if it can take the years’ success and grow that within the UK and then take that to other countries and international it.
In terms of the cholesterol product, the RNS indicates that we’ve been building the science, we’ve been building the IP, we’ve developed a range of different formulations and most importantly we’ve been working with partners who have the necessary capability in terms of manufacturing and distribution and sales infrastructure to support a product launch in 2017. We see our strain, which we have now trademarked as LP-LDL, as very much the intel inside a range of products for cardio-vascular health across both consumer health and pharma and whilst time-consuming, building multiple deals helps diversify investor risk and if successful will give a far greater shareholder return.
Q3: So how does this fit into OptiBiotix’s overall strategy?
A3: For anyone that has heard me speak over the last 2 years will know that when I founded OptiBiotix I structured the company in a way which created multiple opportunities, I didn’t want a single technology and single product company because if things go wrong then you have nowhere to go. So the strategy that I developed diversifies both development and investor risk and creates the potential for multiple revenue streams and investors now are starting to see the fruits of this strategy. To recap in terms of where we are:
We’ve got products ready on the market, that’s the GoFigure products containing the SlimBiome, and as I said earlier they’ve got great customer reviews, good market tractions and we’re looking to grow them out into other markets, both nationally and internationally.
We also announced in this RNS this launch of our cardio-vascular product range in the spring of 2017 so we’ve got revenues now with one product, revenues to come in the future with the cardio-vascular product.
We’ve got the cost of our development in our sugar products largely covered by partnering deals and they themselves will develop into royalty streams in the future.
So something for now, something for the near future and something for a bit further down the line and despite all of this activity over the last 6 months or so, since we reported our interims, we still have £3.5 million in the bank. So in summary we have a great solid financial base, we have products on the market now and we have a product launch planned for next year and then a pipeline of really good science creating new opportunities for the future. We’re encouraged by all of this, we think the future’s bright for OptiBiotix Health.