Alimentary Health to launch IBS treatment.
12 Jan 2009: Cork firm, Alimentary Health, will mark its tenth anniversary with the launch of a new probiotic treatment for irritable bowel syndrome in partnership with Procter and Gamble (P&G). According to Barry Kiely, chief executive of Alimentary Health, the company’s relationship with P&G has been central to its development since its establishment in University College Cork in 1999.
“We entered into a relationship with P&G in 2000,” Kiely said. “It provided funding in the early stages for the R&D, and that allowed us to manage the business very frugally but remain very focused on that programme. We entered into a bigger agreement with them in the middle of 2001. That relationship has been very significant. We have a product with them now that has come all the way through clinical development and is ready or full launch in the new year.”
Alimentary Health has 25 full-time staff. While it is not currently profitable, Kiely believes its balance sheet is in a healthy state for a company of its type, with “a good royalty rate” from P&G promising healthy revenues in the future. Initially established as an academic research group into probiotics, Alimentary Health secured Enterprise Ireland funding through BioResearch Ireland.
“There was some multinational interest at the time in licensing the technology,” said Kiely. “We felt that would have been a one-off opportunity, so instead we formed the company and then went looking for potential partners once we got the dynamic of the business going.”
As well as P&G, Alimentary Health has research alliances with P&G Pet Care, US food company General Mills, chronic wound care company Convatec and infant specialists Mead Johnson. These research partnerships represent just one aspect of the company’s overall activities, however. It is also the industry partner for the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC) in University College Cork, through which it hopes to commercially exploit some of the research carried out at the SFI-funded centre.
“That’s essentially the next step,” Kiely said. “We co-funded some of the work of APC and, out of that, we’ve generated real pharmaceutical opportunities that are not partnered which we’re developing internally.”
“We have the first right option to look at some of the technology and see if it gels with our business. We want to bring those in-house and develop them as clinical candidates.”
The company has already started to develop some of this research, a process which can take between two and four years – depending on clinical outcomes.
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