Wellington firm signs multimillion-dollar deal
Wellington food and health products company Anagenix has signed an international distribution deal it says will propel its revenue into "the tens of millions of dollars".
Anagenix was set up in 2007 to develop New Zealand-made, high quality nutritional products.
It has three brands in the market - two types of a gut health supplement called Actazin, and a food ingredient called ApuraGreen which is used as an alternative to higher fat content ingredients in baked goods. Both are made from kiwifruit.
It has secured a deal with US specialty food ingredients company Stratum Nutrition to expand sales of its products internationally.
Stratum is a subsidiary of multinational nutrition corporate Novus International, which is active in 90 countries.
Anagenix chief operating officer Melissa Yiannoutsos said the deal was a big milestone for the Kiwi startup. "This partnership really takes us to the next level, because of their reach.
"It is very realistic that our turnover would be getting into the tens of millions of dollars in the near future."
Finding an experienced North American partner was always in the plan because of the prohibitive cost of setting up a sales and distribution force itself, she said.
Anagenix was introduced to Stratum via a New Zealand Trade and Enterprise forum at an ingredients and finished goods symposium in Las Vegas.
Anagenix had focused on the digestive health and nutrition products market, Yiannoutsos said. "Where we stand apart is in terms of our commitment to the science that underpins our products, and our commitment to a really good supply chain."
It also had other products in the pipeline which went broader than digestive health. The company had set itself "some pretty ambitious targets" of one to two new products a year, she said.
Yiannoutsos and business partner Jen Anderson came on board as angel investors a year ago when Anagenix's original scientist founders were looking for an experienced management team.
They have invested their time and cash alongside Wellington investment firm Fomana Capital, which specialises in commercialising technology and raising capital.
"We're really focused on getting this business really moving forward," Yiannoutsos said.
Stratum president Jeremy Moore said the culture of the two organisations fitted, and Anagenix's products filled gaps in the American company's portfolio - including those in development.
That Anagenix products were made from kiwifruit appealed because the fruit was seen as wholesome and healthy by American consumers, and it was an ideal candidate for a supplement because good quality kiwifruit were not always available in the US.
New Zealand's reputation as a pristine, natural environment was also a factor.
"It's absolutely important for us that [the Anagenix deal] fits not only the needs that we see in the marketplace from a health condition standpoint, but also that it dovetails nicely with our overall culture and commitment to triple line sustainability."
The global nutritional supplements market alone was worth US$80 billion to US$100b (NZ$102b to NZ$127b), and was shifting towards wholefood products or ingredients, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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