The opening of the new facility signals a new chapter beginning for the Canadian company. The original Sherbrooke plant was completely destroyed by an explosion and subsequent fire in November 2012. The new facility is able to produce more than 150 metric tons of krill oil annually and is equipped to allow for a doubling of capacity going forward, said Neptune’s Mike Timperio.
The state-of-the-art facility includes upgrades to both equipment and its manufacturing practices, with the resulting product offering improved viscosity, which facilitates encapsulation, and enhanced bioactives, said the company.
The company has also announced the launch of three new condition-specific products, said Timperio.
“We looked at the product and the benefits, which include cardiovascular, joint, and cognitive, and we asked how do we extend those claims?”
The product targeting cardiovascular support is called NKOBeat, and includes Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) with its NKO krill oil. Internal data showed that CoQ10 had 25 times better absorption rate when compared to a generic CoQ10, he said.
The joint health product, NKOFlex, includes vitamin D with the NKO and other ingredients. The combination results in up to two times increased digestion of vitamin D2, according to the company.
The third product, NKOFocus, is positioned to support brain and vision health. The product includes thiamine and lutein, said Timperio. In this instance, lutein’s absorption is reportedly improved by as much as eight times.
Timperio said that the data to support these claims has not been published in peer-review journals. “That’s doesn’t mean we won’t publish the data at some stage,” he said, “But it is too strategic for us to publish these now.”
End of the krill wars
While the last 21 months have been difficult for the company, Timperio said there have also been many good things happen during that time. The most important accomplishment during that time was the resolution of a long-running patent dispute with other krill suppliers.
Aker Biomarine of Norway, Enzymotec of Israel, and Rimfrost of Norway have all agreed to licensing deals with Neptune.
“We’ve now settled the dust with everyone,” said Timperio. The separate suppliers will not be at loggerheads anymore, said Timperio, and conversations have already started with competitors to explore how to have one voice for krill.
“I think you’ll see a united krill sector moving forward, with benefits to the whole category. We still need to differentiate krill from other types of omega-3s.”
Changes at the top
The company has also announced a recent change of CEO - former CFO Andre Godin was named as interim CEO after the departure of longtime CEO Henri Harland. Harland was one of the co-founders of the company (founded in 1998) and had been involved with the commercialization of krill oil since 1991, according to information from Forbes magazine.
“The leadership will be different,” said Timperio. “A founder of a company has to invest himself in the company, but you can reach a point where is becomes detrimental.
“The industry will see a more likeable and convivial perspective from Netpune,” he said.
“The industry has been good for us,” he added. “It’s waited and supported us, and we now have a state-of-the-art facility, new products, and the IP war is behind us. The future is brighter for us and our partners.”