Boston Therapeutics expands Asian markets for Sugardown ingredient as company scrambles to raise capital
BTI has announced a deal with Advance Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. to expand the marketing footprint of the ingredient from three countries to 15 in Asia. Advance Pharmaceutical is test marketing dietary supplements featuring the Sugardown ingredient in Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China and will expand that effort into markets in South Korea, southeast Asia, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Blood sugar management
Sugardown is based on mannan, a plant polysaccharide that BTI derives from fenugreek and guar gum. The Manchester, NH-based company has been developing the ingredient for a number of years and has a two-pronged line of business based on the ingredient. In the guise of BTI-320, the company is developing the ingredient as a drug, which is about to enter Phase III clinical trials for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
In bringing the ingredient to market first as a dietary supplement, BTI has followed a trail blazed by a of a number of other companies. Biothera, for example, has had significant success selling its Wellmune WGT, an immune health ingredient based on a beta glucan derived from yeast, as a dietary supplement, while at the same time pursuing an active pharmaceutical development program. This two pronged approach provides a number of advantages, said BTI’s chief financial officer Tony Squeglia.
“Obviously, we get revenue, for one thing,” Squeglia told NutraIngredients-USA. “But as the same time we are building a base of customers for the eventual introduction of the pharmaceutical.”
The ingredient’s mode of action is to inhibit the action the enzymes that release glucose from complex carbohydrate in foods during digestion, reducing the amount of available glucose absorbed through the intestine. While that would presume fewer total calories absorbed, BTI is staying away from any weight management claims, Squeglia said.
“One could make an assumption that if it inhibits up to 40% of the glucose from entering the bloodstream, that that would mean fewer calories absorbed. But we don’t make any claims along that line,” he said.
Seeking additional capital
The development of potential new Asian markets comes as the company seeks additional financing to get it over the hump toward full commercialization of its dietary supplement and pharmaceutical ingredients. Its third quarter earnings report, filed on Nov. 7, included this statement: “Boston Therapeutics believes its cash resources will be sufficient to fund planned operations into December 2014. The company is seeking additional capital but there can be no assurance that the company will be able to raise necessary funding. Without such additional capital, the company may be required to curtail or cease operations.”
Through three quarters ending Sept. 30, the company had reported a net loss of $3.94 million compared with a net loss of $2.3 million for the same period a year previously.