Spotlight-noterade Carbiotix annonserade tidigare i veckan en ny samarbetspartner avseende diagnostiktjänsten LinkGut, brittiska MWELL. Genom partneravtalet kommer MWELLs kunder att kunna använda Carbiotix OneGut-tester för att övervaka sin tarmhälsa och anpassa sitt intag av prebiotika. Dessutom meddelade Carbiotix att man kommit överens med FoodHills i Bjuv som produktionsplats för Carbiotix prebiotiska AXOS-fiber. Bolagets ambition är att nästa år kunna producera 10 ton per år, med ytterligare uppskalning i planerna. BioStock kontaktade vd Kristofer Cook för en kommentar.

Diagnostik- och tarmhälsobolaget Carbiotix, som tillhandahåller ett avancerat tarmhälsotest, samt tillverkar nästa generations prebiotiska fiber, meddelade under årets sista månad två betydelsefulla avtal för bolagets framtida utveckling.

MWELL – ett nytt brittiskt varumärke

För det första ingick Carbiotix ett LinkGut-samarbete med brittiska MWELL, ett varumärke som ägs av Kellog Europe och som marknadsför ett nytt prebiotiskt pulver som kan användas i alla livsmedel och förbättra tarmhälsan.Samarbetet innebär att MWELLs kunder nu kan använda Carbiotix OneGut-test och därigenom få tillgång till ett avancerat och prisvärt tarmhälsotest. Kunderna kommer med vägledning av testet kunna dosera och optimera sitt intag av MWELLS prebiotika.

För Carbiotix del betyder avtalet att den första livsmedelsproducenten nu anslutit som LinkGut-partner och kommer att utgöra en betydelsefull referens inför kommande samarbeten.

Avtal med FoodHill för produktion av AXOS-ingrediens

För det andra meddelade Carbiotix att man kommer att använda FoodHills fastighet i Bjuv för att bygga en produktionsanläggning till bolagets majskliextrakt innehållande AXOS. Under hösten har bolaget inlett produktion i pilotanläggningen i Lund av prebiotiska modulatorer till de interventionsstudier som Carbiotix ingår i under våren 2021, dels i vid Lunds universitet, men även för Chalmers studie som ska genomföras i Italien. Läs mer om bolagets studieplaner här.

Parallellt med pilotanläggningen har bolaget alltså planerat för en storskalig produktionskapacitet och har nu träffat avtal med FoodHills, som äger den tidigare Findus-anläggningen i Bjuv. Bakom FoodHills står bl.a. Backahill, med Erik Paulson som huvudägare, samt Catena. FoodHills har en ambition att bli en ledande fastighetsägare inom cirkulär livsmedelsproduktion och passar därför väl in i sammanhanget med Carbiotix produktion av prebiotiska modulatorer.

Snabb uppskalning med goda bruttomarginaler

Initialt är avsikten att under Q2 2021 komma upp i en kapacitet om 10 ton per år, en volym som sedan kan skalas upp till 100 ton under 2022 för att kunna utöka kapaciteten ytterligare till 1 000 ton.

Ännu längre fram siktar Carbiotix på att uppnå en årlig produktionsvolym på mer än 10 000 ton tillsammans med externa produktionspartners i USA eller i Europa.

Den totala marknaden för prebiotika har uppskattats till cirka en miljon ton per år med en omsättning om 5 miljarder EUR årligen.

Tidigare under året säkrade Carbiotix leverans av majskli gemom avtal med en av världens största livsmedelsproducenter. Bruttomarginalerna i produktionen av AXOS-ingredienserna kommer att uppgå till cirka 75 procent, enligt Carbiotix, vilket skapar långsiktiga förutsättningar för en lönsam tillväxt.

Marknaden för medicinsk mat, som Carbiotix också siktar mot, är värderad till cirka 15 miljarder EUR årligen enligt Grand View Research och Carbiotix räknar med att bruttomarginalerna inom detta segment kommer att ligga på cirka 95 procent.

»In a time where personalisation is becoming centre stage, carrying out a limited study and saying that a gut health product has the potential to have a positive effect simply does not cut it anymore. One has to show for each individual that a product is contributing to better gut health.«

Vd kommenterar

Produktionsplanerna börjar ta således ta form och LinkGut-nätverket växer vilket föranledde BioStock att kontakta vd Kristofer Cook för en kommentar om de senaste nyheterna.

 Kristofer, MWELL is a brand owned by Kellogg Europe, what does that mean to your LinkGut-network?

– As you noted, MWELL is a new and exciting gut health brand launched by Kellogg Europe in the UK. I think the product is very innovative and relevant given its formulation, application areas and brand positioning. We are of course more than happy to support the Kellogg Europe team and MWELL customers to demonstrate that the product is having a positive effect on their gut health. Having Kellogg Europe offer the LinkGut service means that transparency has really become mainstream and I suspect other leading food & beverage companies will follow this trend.

– In a time where personalisation is becoming centre stage, carrying out a limited study and saying that a gut health product has the potential to have a positive effect simply does not cut it anymore. One has to show for each individual that a product is contributing to better gut health. LinkGut provides this service for food & beverage, nutraceutical, pharma and health & wellness companies as a cost-effective White Label service, either as a website extension or an API integration for seamless integration.

LinkGut partners are potential customers for your own prebiotic modulator AXOS and presumably, the same goes for MWELL?

Kristofer Cook, vd Carbiotix

– Our LinkGut partners can be fundamentally divided into two groups: 1) those who would like to offer a gut health test for their customers to track the effect of a gut health related product, and 2) those who utilise our gut health testing platform as a core element of their service offering. The latter are typically health & wellness companies interested in including microbiome data in a more comprehensive service offering. These partners benefit from not having to set up their own gut health test and leveraging the innovative and clear cost advantages of our OneGut platform. For example, we are the only company in the world to offer a consumer NGS test for 99 EUR in triplicate.

– For the former group, which consist primarily of food & beverage and nutraceutical companies, they are potential customers of our AXOS ingredient, and this includes Kellogg Europe. Thus, you can argue that the LinkGut service is a method of building relationships with these companies and their customers. By demonstrating that AXOS has a positive impact on a person’s gut health we can only strengthen the relationships we have with our AXOS ingredient customers. This also holds true for pharmaceutical companies that use our LinkGut service and the securing of partnerships for our AXOS medical foods and therapeutic co-treatments.

Now that your production plans are well under way, how would do you assess demand for your prebiotic modulator?

– We have always had very good interest in AXOS among potential customers and the research community since our AXOS ingredient was revealed. Until now, scaling up and producing AXOS has been the most difficult hurdle to overcome, along with fulfilling regulatory requirements. And, having one without the other makes no sense. I am happy to say that achieving GRAS self-affirmation and having our own production facility are now within reach and 2021 should be the year we can begin to supply AXOS to the market and set the company on a trajectory to capture substantial value from its modulator products.

»To be clear, our ambition is to capture as much value as possible from the products we produce rather than license our technology and potentially give away 95% of the value to a third party. We are initially targeting markets worth over 20 billion EUR per annum and that are growing at close to double digits, so there is certainly room to capture substantial value given our competitive position.«

Can you tell us about your marketing strategy, with LinkGut being an important piece, but not the only piece?

– LinkGut is both a top-line driver for the company and a means to support AXOS sales through building relationships with potential customers and partners. Practically this means that as modulator sales grow, our disruptive potential in the diagnostic space will grow as we will have greater freedom to further reduce the cost of our gut health tests, which should in turn further help AXOS sales. Practically, this will also mean that as a B to B company we will not have to spend substantial resources on marketing of either our gut health tests or modulators.

How will Carbiotix fund the forthcoming production investment?

– As mentioned in our latest press release, our first 10 ton AXOS production site will be financed through proceeds from the 2020/2021 warrant, pending that the minimum stated proceeds are secured. Going forward, our aim is to expand production capacity as market demand grows and we fulfil additional regulatory approvals.

– Moreover, it is our ambition to leverage the learnings from the building of our first site to cost effectively expand production capacity alone and with partners when it makes sense through a mixture of debt and equity financing.

– To be clear, our ambition is to capture as much value as possible from the products we produce rather than license our technology and potentially give away 95% of the value to a third party. We are initially targeting markets worth over 20 billion EUR per annum and that are growing at close to double digits, so there is certainly room to capture substantial value given our competitive position.

– To avoid confusion, I encourage all investors to model the markets we are targeting with our anticipated volumes and gross profits. Once we reach scale, the marginal investment cost of each extra euro in gross profit looks very appealing. It is my mission to ensure we reach scale as soon as possible and at the lowest capital cost possible.

Finally, regarding medical food, which is a market with high value, what boxes would you need to tick before you can launch as planned?

– Our AXOS medical food will be introduced to the market following the introduction of our AXOS ingredient. This will be followed by our AXOS therapeutic products. While I am inclined to only focus on our AXOS ingredient given the size of the potential market and competitive position, we will in parallel aim to introduce our AXOS medical food in relatively short time scale, as ambition is something we certainly do not lack.

– In order to do this, we need to demonstrate that the product is suitable as a co-intervention targeting a particular disease through studies, which we are doing now with example the planned AXOS metformin study, but also to demonstrate that it fulfils the requirements of a medical food ie. satisfying a nutritional deficiency.

– I cannot specify exactly when we will have all these requirements in place, but we are diligently working towards this goal. At the same time, we are developing our therapeutic products in the same disease areas we are targeting with are medical foods which we plan to bring to market with partners as co-treatments. So, many moving pieces but they all fit together as a comprehensive and solid value proposition for customers, partners and investors.

Se även Kristofer Cooks presentation från BioStock Life Science Summit 2020 nedan.

Innehållet i BioStocks nyheter och analyser är oberoende men BioStocks verksamhet är i viss mån finansierad av bolag i branschen. Detta inlägg avser ett bolag som BioStock erhållit finansiering från. 

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