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Mumbai-based J.B. Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals recently acquired brands for the India market from Sanzyme, a leading player in the probiotics and reproductive health segment in Hyderabad. The transaction is valued at Rs 628 crore. In conversation with nuFFooDS Spectrum, Nikhil Chopra, Chief Executive Officer & Whole Time Director, JB Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals reveals more about this recent acquisition and the company’s future plans
What is the scope of the probiotics market in India?
During and post COVID-19 era, we see a lot of gastric related lifestyle problems in the Indian population. This explains the growth of the gastrointestinal (GI) probiotic market segment, which is more than Rs 1200 crore and growing at 12-14 per cent CAGR (~16 per cent CAGR pre-COVID-19 period). This segment will continue to grow in double digits with rising health consciousness standards. Moreover, there are only a few players who dominate this category with superior product offerings. Over a period of time, lots of specialty probiotics products will be introduced to meet the unmet demand in this segment. This will be a good challenge and opportunity for existing players to keep innovating and differentiating their probiotics portfolio.
What are the latest innovations in probiotics/ nutraceuticals space?
Unique delivery systems like; straws, chewee’s, gums etc. are being explored. Combinations of various strains and controlling their temperature sensitivity especially for a warm country like ours are key research areas which will impact the future of probiotics. The potential role of various gut microbiota is being elucidated especially from the perspective of neuronal, immunological and even cardiological point of views. There are unique or novel Probiotic strains apart from the current ones which are being investigated and are being referred to as ‘new generation probiotics’. They are more likely amenable for pharmaceutical delivery rather than food delivery. Further an emerging concept related to probiotics known as post-biotics, (bacterial products or metabolic by-products) from gut microbes that aims to mimic the beneficial therapeutic effects of probiotics is emerging. These products such as short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), vitamins, peptides etc. are much more stable as compared to probiotics. These concepts are largely unexplored yet have an exciting potential.
Post the acquisition of brands from Sanzyme for the India market, what will be your growth strategy for the next five years?
Sporlac is amongst the pioneer brands in the probiotic segment. We feel we are well positioned in the market to capture a large share of the growing probiotic market with our strong brand equity of sporlac and innovative speciality probiotics like LOBUN (for Chronic Kidney Disorder) and OXALO (for decalcifying kidney stones). Going forward we have multiple levers in hand to boost growth and penetration of this portfolio by expanding HCPs coverage, indication expansion, lifecycle management by introducing newer strains and combinations.
Are you planning to hire more workforce post acquisition?
We have high geography, speciality, and therapy synergies with the acquired portfolio. It complements our existing portfolio and presence in the domestic market. In the near to short term, we are confident of growing this portfolio by leveraging our existing resources and manpower.
How do you plan to tackle the competition in the probiotics, nutraceuticals market?
Currently, we are amongst the top 5 players in this category. We aim to gain market share in this category by leveraging our strong brand equity of sporlac and managing the lifecycle of the franchise effectively. We also plan to make the brand equity even stronger at super-specialties through the prescription route. Moreover, we will also explore opportunities to widen our presence and penetration by leveraging JB’s existing reach in the country.
How much revenue is expected with the new products adding to your portfolio?
We plan to deliver marketing beating performance in the category and double our revenues in 4-5 years.