OptiBiotix Health Plc (LON:OPTI), a life sciences business developing compounds to tackle obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes, announced today that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) with Bened Biomedical Ltd., Taiwan (“Bened”). The MoU sets the framework for a strategic partnership to explore licensing and sales opportunities and the potential of combining relevant assets, over the next 12 months.
Bened Biomedical Co., Ltd., was founded in 2015 as a spin off from National Yang-Ming University (“NYMU”) by Professor Tsai, Ying-Chieh. Bened is a leading probiotic research and marketing companies in Asia developing microbiome based products for neuropsychological, allergic, immunological, metabolic and aging-related disorders. In the past two years, its flagship psychobiotic PS128® products which help improve mental and emotional health, have been sold through both on-line and off-line channels in more than ten countries, generating revenues in the excess of US$2m.
The MoU provides a 12 month period to explore opportunities relating to OptiBiotix’s cholesterol and blood pressure reducing LPLDL® strain and Bened’s PS128®, a psychobiotic that has shown encouraging results in reducing anxiety and depression in animal studies.
This agreement includes:-
· The potential for Bened to commercialise OptiBiotix’s LPLDL® strain in Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and South East Asia
· The potential for OptiBiotix to commercialise Bened’s PS128 strain in Europe and the USA
· The possibility of combining relevant assets to broaden the commercial offering and global reach
For OptiBiotix this means:
· Widening OptiBiotix’s probiotic portfolio into the area of psychobiotics
· Entering into the area of the “Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis” where mounting evidence suggests that the microbiome helps shape neural development, brain biochemistry and behaviour
· Opening commercial routes into Taiwan, Japan, Korea and SE Asia for the Company’s cholesterol and blood pressure reducing LPLDL® strain
· Gaining access to territories in the Asia Pacific region with a total probiotic retail value of $16.1 billion, of which supplements are $700 million. Japan being the third largest market for probiotic supplements with a predicted 8% growth by 2021 and the Taiwanese markets predicted a 27% growth by 2021
The two parties aim to enter definitive legal agreement on commercial and financial terms during the 12 month period. This is expected to create mutual value through royalty or asset payments. More information about the specific agreement will be provided in due course.
Market data from ‘TRENDS, INNOVATIONS AND OPPORTUNITIES DRIVING THE GLOBAL PROBIOTICS MARKET’ (Euromonitor International June 2017).
Stephen O’Hara, Chief Executive Officer of OptiBiotix Health Plc, said: “We are pleased to announce this strategic partnership with Bened Biomedical and see a strong rationale for both companies to work together based on a complementary understanding of the science in different application areas of the microbiome. We are excited by recent advances in psychobiotics which have the potential to address a range of mental and emotional health issues such as anxiety, depression, autism and Parkinson’s. We strongly believe Bened’s scientific and commercial capabilities in psychobiotics creates potential for OptiBiotix to bring new products to new markets and extend both our product offering and global reach in the microbiome field to bring better science and better health to all.”
Frankie Cheng, Chief Executive Officer of Bened Biomedical, said: “OptiBiotix operates in a very exciting and progressive area that has the potential to bring real health benefits. It has exciting products with strong science and clinical studies which we believe can be commercialised successfully through our distribution capability. We see mutual benefit in OptiBiotix’s commercial advances in Europe and US as a way to bring our PS128® product to a wider audience.”