“The company believes it is making strong scientific and commercial progress across all its technology and product platforms”
Stephen O’Hara, chief executive
What it does
It has three main compounds that it is working to commercialise:
- LPLDL – a probiotic strain that has been shown to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure
- SlimBiome – a weight management system that promotes a healthy metabolism and the feeling of fullness
- SweetBiotix – a patented, natural, low calorie alternative to sugar
How it is doing
OptiBiotix aims for its compounds to become the ‘Intel of food’ or, in other words, to be a key ingredient in other foods and health supplements.
For that to happen, the company needs to do three things: manufacture its compounds, formulate them (put them into tablets, foods etc), and then distribute them.
To that end, Opti has signed a series of manufacturing and supply agreements around the world, and the number of deals has ratcheted up over the past year.
There are commercial agreements in place for SlimBiome in North America, the UK and Europe, Thailand, Philippines and India.
In December it expanded further with an agreement with Extensor, its exclusive partner in Poland for the distribution of GoFigure, granting Extensor exclusive rights to distribute SlimBiome in Poland for a period of 12 months with continued exclusivity subject to performance review.
In the east, OptiBiotix has inked an exclusive distribution agreement with Epic Ingredients to distribute SlimBiome in Malaysia and Singapore.
There are several products containing LPLDL being sold by numerous partners in more than 30 countries around the world.
Results of a new Italian three-month human study, unveiled in January 2020, showed significant reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
As for SweetBiotix, recent studies have shown that the sweeteners not only have a clean flavour profile, but can also help to enhance healthy gut bacteria.
In the half-year report, turnover grew 169% year-on-year to £191,000. As is common for a company at this formative stage of its commercial development, OptiBiotix was loss-making.
The operating loss was just under £1.5mln, £627,906 less than the year earlier as administrative expenses fell 17.5%. At the period-end the firm had £1.33mln, rising to £1.67mln following the reclamation of R&D tax credits.
Meanwhile, the European authorities approved the unflavoured version of SlimBiome Medical, allowing the company to offer the 'plain' version of the line with natural flavour boosters for "minimal" additional expenditure.
In 2020 a deal with Holland & Barrett will see more than 1,300 stores in 16 countries stock the company’s weight management product SlimBiome.
What the boss says: Stephen O'Hara, chief executive
''In terms of where we are now, we've gone through the early stages of building the IP ... we've built the commercial partnerships and our focus is very much on rapid sales growth''.
''We're moving from a focus on revenues to profitability."
Going forward, the plan is to explore similar demergers with the other divisions, building them up, creating separate legal entities and putting them on the market, with a special divi for shareholders.
What the analyst says
In a note to clients, analysts at goetzpartners securities pointed that these deals “take the total number of commercial deals for SlimBiome to 20 and are an important step towards further expanding the product's geographical reach and hence sales.”
They said: “We expect revenues from SlimBiome to reach nearly £1m in FY2020E, which we believe is conservative, and >£11m by 2024E, driven by growing sales of existing deals and new deals.”
The analysts noted that Optibiotix is also generating revenues from its cholesterol-lowering probiotic LP-LDL and they expect two further products, SweetBiotix (calorie-free fibre for sugar replacement) and LP-GOS (prebiotic that enhances the effect of LP-LDL) to start generating first sales in 2020, yielding combined portfolio sales of more than £40mln in 2024.
The goetzpartners' analysts reiterated an ‘outperform’ rating and 97p target price on Optibiotix shares – currently trading at 49p - based on their view that the firm is “at the beginning of a long-term revenue growth cycle”.