LifeScience Sweden med Kemivärlden published an interview with Isabelle Ducellier on their website. Target groups for LifeScience Sweden are decision makers within research, biotech and the pharmaceutical industry.
“We are following the international debate on probiotics”
Increased profits and higher dividends were two of the highlights when probiotics company BioGaia issued its year-end report last week. Below are comments from Chief Executive Officer Isabelle Ducellier.
Things have been pretty quiet from your marketing department for the past six months. Is this a strategy?
– No, it’s not a deliberate strategy. We communicate when we have something of particular interest to say, such as the publication of a new study or the signing of a new partnership agreement.
The most recent publication we announced was a Swedish study on women with low bone mineral density that was published in June last year. Osteoporosis is a new and highly interesting area for BioGaia where we see very promising potential. In October we told about the exciting projects that our subsidiary MetaboGen is conducting, where the focus is on the microbiome and finding unique new opportunities that can be developed into the next generation of probiotic products.
There are several clinical studies underway in various indication areas, and we will provide updates as soon as the results of these are published.
Probiotics are not universally accepted and are seen with a certain skepticism in some parts of the world. How are you dealing with this?
– We are following the international debate on probiotics and last autumn noted articles in the USA that pointed out the risks associated with probiotics. On the whole we agree with these articles, since their criticism is directed mainly to the many probiotic products that lack documentation and whose contents are not defined. The USA is a mature market with a large number of products of varying quality.
BioGaia has always founded its business on clinically documented products, where each probiotic strain is documented within well defined indication areas. We market the products only for the indications where there is clinical proof. We believe that this strategy will be increasingly important in the future, since there is a growing awareness among both consumers and healthcare professionals and they will choose products with proven efficacy and safety.
How will you further advance your position globally?
– BioGaia’s products are already sold via distribution partners in 100 countries. We have close and long-term relationships with our approximately 80 partners and support them in their sales and marketing. To further reinforce our support to local partners in the Americas and Asia, we have opened new regional offices in Miami and Singapore. We already have a subsidiary in place in Japan.
You have bumped up the dividend significantly this year, from SEK 0 to a total of SEK 10 per share. Can the shareholders expect you to maintain this dividend level in the future?
– Our dividend policy of 40 percent remains unchanged. But if any business opportunity should arise, such as an acquisition, this policy may be revised.
You took over as CEO last autumn. What is at the top of your to-do list for 2019?
– My main focus is on strengthening the brand so that consumers feel secure knowing that BioGaia’s products provide health benefits and that these are proven in clinical studies. I will also work on further reinforcing the collaboration with our distribution partners around the world.
On the research side, the focus is on continuing the ambitious clinical program with our probiotic strains, in both the already established indication areas and new ones. Here, our new subsidiary MetaboGen is contributing a great deal of new and exciting knowledge; their research is at the cutting edge of what we believe will be the probiotic products of the future.
Finally, it is vital that BioGaia continues to be an attractive workplace for the current employees but also that we can attract new talents. In the year ahead one of my foremost tasks will be to integrate MetaboGen into our operations.
Published on February 15 2019 09:52