The agreement has been made between Probi, its marketing partner Institut Rosell, and Indian company Ranbaxy Pharmaceutical, and is the second deal this year alone to see the company's strain used in the Asian supplement market. It marks another milestone for the small Swedish Biotech firm which has some 20 workers and began in 1991. Probi announced in May that products containing its probiotics Lp 299v will be débuting in India this year through Aristo Pharmaceuticals. Both deals were aimed at seeing the probiotic in the supplement market. The strain of 'friendly' gut bacteria are now marketed in the world's three most populated countries. Probi executive vice president Per-Ola Forsberg told NutraIngredients.com that the company was interested in India because of its large population. He said: "With a population of more than 1.1 billion people, India is one of the largest markets in the world. "The fantastic growth in the economy has driven the wealth in the country and the fast growing middle class is an interesting target group for Probi's product. There is also a good acceptance for self medication." The global retail market for probiotic dietary supplements was valued by Euromonitor International at just over US$1bn in 2005, and was seen to have experienced 46.9 per cent growth between 2002 and 2005. Growth of 32.6 per cent is predicted through 2010. Already the marketing of dietary supplements containing Probi's probiotics is currently under way in fifteen countries, including China and the US, with the majority of the agreements being signed within the past twelve months. Probiotic supplier Institute Rosell and Probi have had a licensing partnership for the past three years for the marketing of the Probi probiotic for dietary supplements. Other markets for which agreements have been signed are Australia, France, Canada, China, Scandinavia, the UK, South Africa, Germany, and the US. Earlier this year the probiotic company signed three new agreements with Institute Rosell, which will see Probi's Lactobacillus plantarum 299v in supplement products soon to be launched in Greece, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia. Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals will launch the dietary supplement among gastroenterologists and other gastro specialists during this autumn. The firm has more than 40 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, and is said to be in the top ten of the largest generic drug companies in the world, with the ambition to reach the top five within five years. The company has global sales of $ 1.2bn Forsberg said: "We are pleased to co-operate with such a well established company as Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals. Ranbaxy is one of the top companies in India when it comes to gastro products. "Together with Aristo Pharmaceuticals, that primarily focuses on general practitioners, we will have a powerful sales force on the Indian market." Probiotics are live bacterial strains that are generally understood to deliver digestive benefits in the gut.