Stephen O’Hara, Optibiotix Health PLC's (LON:OPTI) chief executive, believes his company will have ‘many shots on goal’ in the coming years as it develops its range of products based around the human microbiome.
The company has scored once already with the recent float of SkinBioTherapeutics PLC (LON:STBX), a company that has grown in value from around £400,000 to £11mln and an AIM listing in little more than a year.
Now the plan is to repeat the formula with the group’s three other divisions.
OptiBiotix has been a pioneer of the human microbiome, which is essentially the bacteria that inhabits the gut and skin.
Small changes to the gut flora can affect the way the human body processes food and that had led to a range of products being developed by the company that are now approaching the commercial stage.
O’Hara says it can use bacteria to build complex sugars that act like fibres, which allows it change the microbiome in a very targeted way.
“Precision microbiome engineering” is what O’Hara calls it and it’s a phrase he says the market is going to be hearing much more of in future.
O’Hara sees potential for each of its weight loss, pro-biotics and sugars operations, and indeed Skinbiotherapeutics where it still has a 42% stake, to match Optibiotix’s current market value.
The process of separating the three divisions along the lines of SkinBiotherapeutics has already started with Optibiotix also beefing up the commercial capability of each.
Eventually that may see further separate listings or even a Nasdaq listing for the whole group.
“We were a science company, now we are a commercial company with proven technologies and proven products in the market place.”
Products now the focus
Industry leaders Tata Chemical, pro-biotics specialist Sacco and Bened in Asia have all recently agreed deals for a variety of Optibiotix’s products.
Tata’s deal was for appetite suppressant Slimbiome. A new version of the flour-like weight loss additive will be launched in the US at Las Vegas this week while a backlog of orders has built up from the earlier VitaFoods exhibition in Europe.
The upgrade makes its easier to mix, easier to dissolve and ensures better flavours opening up markets such as gym users who want a shake and bakeries that can fold it in for bread.
O'Hara says he had one order before the product had even gone on show at Vitafoods
Risk strategy pays off
When starting Optibiotix he knew working on the microbiome would be really exciting but to spread the risk, because it was so new, went for a number of different options.
“In three years in a new area of science, the microbiome, we’ve developed across four areas, developed 60 patents, twenty trademarks and are now starting to launch products.”
“We thought one or two might fail, but all have worked."
At 65.2p, Optibiotix is valued at £51.4mln.