Health supplement enters new market

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Last updated 05:00 25/02/2014

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NZX-listed Promisia Integrative's chief executive Charles Daily is relocating to the US in an effort to break into its lucrative health supplement market.

Wellington-based Daily will move to Washington DC for 10 months next month to target the market in the mid-Atlantic states which have a combined population of just over 30 million.

Promisia (formerly Savoy Equities) launched its first product Arthrem, a plant-based extract marketed as a dietary supplement for joint health, on the New Zealand market a couple of years ago when it generated annual turnover of about $20,000. Turnover is now about $20,000 a month.

Daily, a US citizen originally from the Washington DC area, said just over 12 per cent of Americans suffered from joint problems. That equates to more than 3.6m people in the targeted mid-Atlantic region.

"We want to go to America to get a fraction of the potential . . ."

He will work out of the Washington DC offices of law firm Foley Lardner which has a division specialising in Federal Drug Administration regulatory requirements. Their expertise would be utilised to help with the importation of the product.

Daily, who came to New Zealand in 1997, said he was "bullish" in believing the plant extract from the herb Artemisia also had anti-viral properties which could be turned into a topical application.

"Once we go topical it can either be cosmetic or a medicine. That is a grey area and that is where I'll need assistance from the law firm as well."

Daily said a big issue facing the dietary supplement industry was a lack of scientific evidence that products worked as manufacturers claimed. He admits that is the case with Arthrem, but maybe not for much longer.

"We have provisional approval for a double-blind placebo-controlled trial that will be run out of Otago University. The business I am trying to build is to take . . . natural products and implement a robust scientific approach so that we have valid, robust scientific information."

Daily said strong scientific evidence would give users confidence in the product and may well allow it to be prescribed or recommended by doctors. He said another important component of the trial is that the research would be unique to Promisia's product and they would therefore own the intellectual property rights.

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- BusinessDay

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