Cédric Ertle
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R&D Goals Focus on Healthier Skin, Allergies

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 17:48

Q: What are Expanscience’s main business lines in Mexico?

A: Our Mexican business leans on two pillars. First is the Mustela brand, which includes products for babies, children and new and expecting mothers. The second pillar is our osteoarthritis solutions portfolio, with medicines and medical devices for the elderly. We put the same effort and a similar investment into both business lines.

Q: What is the company’s R&D focus in Mexico?

A: Expanscience has three R&D goals for Mexico. First, we want to launch our Mustela products designed for specific skin types. It was previously believed that environment caused skin to become dry or atopic but we recently discovered that all babies are born with a certain skin type. We are in the process of bringing to the market specialized products for babies who have either dry or normal skin types, in addition to a product for babies who have a higher probability of developing allergies.

The second priority is to become stronger in the diapercream market and to introduce Mexican parents to this product, as many still use powder. The volume of this market is 9 million units per year, led by Bayer’s Bepanthen, which sells 3 million units per year. However, the market could be even bigger as 2.3 million babies are born annually in Mexico. Our diaper cream is designed to prevent, calm and repair rashes and it is registered as a medical device by COFEPRIS and recommended by the Mexican Organization of Dermo-Pediatrics. When we first entered Mexico in 2002, we sold around 250,000 units annually. Now we are focused on reaching 1 million units. Our third development area is skin care for mothers. Most pregnant women fear stretch marks, so we have developed a daily cream and oil that guarantee the reduction of stretch marks by 96 percent. Few women are doing anything about their skin during pregnancy in Mexico, so we want to create this new market.

Q: How is Expanscience’s osteoarthritis portfolio addressing the new challenges brought about by Mexico’s aging population?

A: We have a drug called Piascledine 300, a solution designed to reduce pain and the progression of osteoarthritis. It is a leading treatment in the rheumatology pharmaceutical market and it was also developed to lower the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which usually have secondary effects. Our Euflexxa TA treatment can help prevent surgery in advanced cases. It consists of injecting hyaluronic acid into the damaged articulation for six months. This will create a buffer solution that replaces cartilage lost due to osteoarthritis. We expect to become leaders with this drug – so far it became the second best-selling product in Mexico. We are seeing significant growth from prescription drugs, representing 35 percent of our sales. We have included a collagen supplement called Orangel in our osteoarthritis portfolio, a product that produces a great effect with just 40mg of active ingredient. Although our competitors have similar products, those need 10g or 20g to produce the same effect. Also, we can offer capsules of this supplement while others offer dissolvable medicine, so we expect great success with this product.

Q: How important is the Mexican market for Expanscience’s global business?

A: Mexico is important for Expanscience because it is one of the company’s four strategic subsidiaries, along with Brazil, Russia and the US. In 2016, Expanscience saw 30 percent growth in Mexico, 56 percent of which was provided by the osteoarthritis business and 26 percent by the Mustela line. Mexico is also the manufacturing base for the Orangel OTC brand. The raw material comes from the US and the product is manufactured in Mexico with a partner company, Salutary. Euflexxa in Mexico is also a result of a partnership with Ferring, the pharmaceutical company in the US that holds the license for Euflexxa in every country except Mexico, where we have exclusivity.