Probio takes Gelkaps in hand in omega-3 push

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Docosahexaenoic acid, Eicosapentaenoic acid

Norwegian omega-3 specialist Probio has acquired microencapsulation
specialist, Gelkaps, as it bids to become one of Europe's major
omega-3 players.

Chief executive officer Per Benjaminsen said the undisclosed acquisition would allow Probio to increase and improve its omega-3 offerings and signalled the scale of the company's omega-3 ambition. "There are many large competitors in the omega-3 area in Europe but we aim to become the number one player and this acquisition will help us achieve that goal,"​ Benjaminsen told It forecast doubling its annual dose production from 4bn to 8bn by 2012. While Biocare has offered contract manufacturing encapsulation services since its inception in 2000, 90 per cent of its €14m business is derived from its nutraceutical and pharmaceutical omega-3 activities. It eschews functional foods and beverages markets. Probio said it aimed to create a new "category of high-end, human dietary supplements, named Profyceuticals"​ with "near pharmaceutical level documentation"."Our focus has always been on high-end, high potency, high purity ingredients and it is for that reason we have major food supplements and pharma companies as clients,"​ Banjaminsen said, while declining to name any of them due to the existence of confidentiality contracts. "There is more interest in the functional foods are but functional foods are not a focus for us right now." Turnkey approach ​ He said German-based Gelkaps' technologies and production methodologies would allow Probio to develop "complex products"​ that included other ingredients with the aim of delivering novel synergistic effects. BioGel's portfolio includes high dose omega-3 forms, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), sourced primarily from managed fisheries in Latin America. "We are very concerned about sustainability and traceability and that is why we back our ingredients' purity and sourcability with all required paperwork,"​ he said. He said the company adopted a turnkey approach that included full clinical documentation and vertical integration that resulted in the delivery of "market-ready concepts and products".​ Because of this the medical fraternity in the Nordic countries and elsewhere had become accustomed to prescribing omega-3 pharmaceuticals especially in regard to heart problems. Probio would also benefit from Gelkaps' distribution network, Benjaminsen said. Gelkaps, established in 1991, manufactures products for major pharmaceutical and food supplements manufacturers and follows pharma-level Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). "The companies are considered to be complementary and Probio management wishes to build on this to create a stronger, more competitive joint entity. The competitiveness will be further strengthened through sharing of best-practices throughout the combined organisation,"​ Probio said in a statement. Between them, the two companies will have more than 200 European clients in 15 countries. The conglomerate will operate four production facilities and employ more than 300 people in Norway, Germany, Finland and Russia.

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