Due for roll out this Spring, the bulk ingredient, Ester-E, is designed to protect the antioxidant potential of vitamin E during absorption, transport and storage in the body.
"With our flagship product Ester-C, we've succeeded at branded differentiation in a parity category," said Ron Fugate, vice president and general manager of Zila Nutraceuticals.
"We will apply the same success model to Ester-E in the form of aggressive national radio and television advertising, public relations and clinical research."
The Ester-E technology is based upon a patented process for manufacturing tocopherol phosphate, as well as numerous pending patent applications, to create an enhanced form of vitamin E tailored for supplement makers.
"Educated consumers know that natural vitamin E is superior to synthetic versions. With new Ester-E we start with natural vitamin E and apply a patented technology to bring consumers a real difference," added Fugate.
The same business model that is driving the success of Ester-C will be applied to Ester-E, the first branded line extension in Zila Nutraceutical's history, said the Phoenix-based company.
In November last year Zila signed a long-term license agreement with Australia's Vital Health Sciences giving it exclusive rights in the dietary supplement market for certain issued and pending patents, know-how and data pertaining to tocopherol phosphate in the United States, Canada and Indonesia.
Zila also has a right of first refusal for other international markets under the agreement, whose term is for the life of the underlying patents. Several of such patents are recently issued, while other patent applications are still pending.
Douglas D. Burkett, CEO of Zila, said : "With our new Ester-E product, we intend to match the market success and favorable gross margins achieved by our Ester-C brand, within the larger vitamin E category."
At the end of 2003 the pharma and biotech firm reported that a surge in sales of its Ester-C brand in the nutraceuticals division helped offset an overall loss for the first quarter, knocked by higher ascorbic acid costs.
Net revenues for the nutraceuticals division for the three months ended October 31, 2003 rose 8 per cent to $7 million compared to $6.5 million for the same period in 2002.
Growth in the division was largely due to a 15 per cent increase in Ester-C sales for the quarter, although knocked by $400,000 in lower sales of saw palmetto oil products 'as we have exited that commodity business'.
The company reported that sales of Ester-C as a bulk ingredient rose 39 per cent during the quarter. According to the company the steep rise was mainly driven by new Ester-C brand development programs - advertisements - which started late in the quarter.