Launched in 2011, Long Island-based NoorVitamins (a division of Noor Pharmaceuticals), is already posting impressive growth (double digits every month), Dr Mohamed Issa, the company’s CEO, told us.
“We grew over 100% from 2014 to 2015,” he said. “This is a combination of the sector and us being a start-up experiencing exponential growth.”
The size of the Halal supplement market is still to be determined, he said. According to the Pew Research Center, about there were about 2.8 million Muslims in the US in 2014, or about 0.9% of the US population.
“The competitive advantage that we have is not just our expertise in Halal, but that everyone in the company comes from the community, and that brings trust and confidence in the standard of our products,” he said.
Founded by doctors and pharmacists
Dr Issa started his career in pharmaceuticals at Hoffman La-Roche and then Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson. While completing his MBA at NYU Stern School of Business he reunited with Muslim doctors to start Noor Pharmaceuticals.
“The company was founded by doctors and pharmacists who believe in doing what’s right for healthcare. It’s about quality ingredients and products and transparency. We take that very seriously,” he said.
The products are available online, from hundreds of independent pharmacies, and via chains Walgreen’s and Whole Foods.
As the company establishes itself it does intend to engage more with the wider supplement industry. “The focus so far has been on resources and the initial market and the Noor value proposition, but our aspiration is to have a seat at the table. We’re not at the scale of other companies, but we look forward to greater engagement. It is on our agenda for 2015 to be more involved.”
It already has a good relationship with Vitamin Angels. “Vitamin Angels have come to find us a reputable, reliable and transparent partner to do good worldwide,” he said.
The company employs a Chief Halal Officer whose duty is to ensure the company’s suppliers meet its strict quality and Halal criteria. “Gelatin continues to be a troublesome ingredient,” said Dr Issa. “There are some good food sources but it’s not as available. And the B complexes and vitamin D and some of the inactives are challenging.”
There is no single best selling product, he added, with an even split across the range. “The products are taking off not just because they are Halal, but also because we have meticulous quality standards.”
The range currently includes omega-3 fish oil, a multivitamin and mineral, vitamin D3, children’s multivitamin, women’s complete prenatal, calcium with vitamin D, and children’s gummies complete. More proprietary blend products are coming soon, said Dr Issa.
The Long Island-based company is currently about 90 people, which is split across R&D, manufacturing and the commercial team. “By the end of 2015 we’ll be closer to 130 people.”
It currently operates its own facilities, which are Halal and FDA GMP certified, he said. To meet the growing demand, the company is now planning to use contract manufacturers to increase its commercial capabilities. Noor operates using Islamic compliant business practices, including fair contracting, interest free-financing and donating a percentage of our earnings to charity (Zakat) annually, according to its website.
The company is privately owned, but they would entertain the idea of joining forces or joining a larger organization to allow the company to realize its potential, he said.
“In five years we will be the leader in the Halal supplement and pharmaceutical space, but also will be a strong and reputable competitor to the whole industry with a wider value proposition,” said Dr Issa.