Supplement maker Promisia plans US launch after clinical trial and turns to dogs
By Fiona Rotherham
May 28 (BusinessDesk) - Promisia Integrative, which sells a dietary supplement to treat painful joint conditions like arthritis, is about to launch into the US market and test its product on dogs after positive preliminary results from its first human clinical trial.
The Wellington-based listed company said this week that preliminary results from the 12-week trial conducted by the Rheumatology Research Unit at Otago University showed its supplement, Arthrem, provided significant benefits for research participants aged between 35 and 75 years with hip or knee osteoarthritis.
There is no requirement in New Zealand or the US to prove the safety or efficacy of dietary supplements. Promisia chief executive Charlie Daley said the company’s point of difference to other supplements will be having robust scientific research that allows consumers to make informed decisions.
The company’s share price rose 1 cent to 4 cents last week, just days ahead of the public announcement of the trial results.
Once published, the trial results will allow the company to apply to be registered as a complementary medicine in Australia. Daley says it could then make therapeutic benefit claims for Arthrem in that country that are prohibited for dietary supplements.
Daley temporarily located to his native United States last year to set up an e-commerce platform which is currently in beta phase and will be fully operational by the third quarter of the year. While the anti-inflammatory product is sold in New Zealand pharmacies, the US business plan is to make recurring sales through subscribers to its e-commerce site.
It’s estimated there are around 90 times the number of arthritis sufferers in the US compared to New Zealand and Daley said he’s had to refine the target market down – to women aged between 36 and 60 years who are early sufferers with mild to moderate symptoms.
The proprietary extract made from the medicine herb Artemisia annua was originally tested as a malaria treatment in Papua New Guinea. It is grown for Promisia on a farm in Tanzania.
The company is also about to test the safety of the product on arthritic dogs, which could prove an even bigger market than humans.
Daley said a clinical trial is likely to follow to provide the same scientific research as for human users and he hopes to have a canine product on sale by year’s end.
During the 2014 financial year, the listed company raised in excess of $1.8 million through a placement and share purchase plan and has had two project grants from government innovation funder, Callaghan Innovation, that helped pay for an in vitro study and the Dunedin clinical trial.
Promisia posted a loss of $758,000 in the year ended Dec. 31, compared to a loss of $510,000 the previous year. The unaudited financial result was revised in March, reducing the loss by $70,000 from $828,000, after discussion with the board and the company’s auditor that costs incurred setting up the US ecommerce platform should be capitalised rather than expensed.
Revenue for the 2014 year was $217,000, 36 percent up on the $160,000 achieved in 2013.
(BusinessDesk is funded by Callaghan Innovation to cover the commercialisation of innovation).