An Israeli children’s supplement company is planning to list on the ASX in the next quarter, seeing the exchange as a gateway to the lucrative Chinese market.
Nutritional Growth Solutions, which was founded by Israeli paediatric endocrinologist Moshe Phillip and paediatric gastroenterologist Raanan Shamir, is commercialising a range of children’s milk formulas designed to ensure children receive all the necessary vitamins and minerals for their growth.
Nutritional Growth Solutions CEO Liron Fendell is exploring an ASX listing for the children’s supplement company.
Its first product, Healthy Height, is a protein powder designed for children who are growing slower than their peers. It is already generating more than $1.2 million in revenue each year, predominantly from sales in the US.
The product has been clinically tested with results published in The Journal of Pediatrics. The study of 200 children aged three to nine showed that after six months, those who were given the Healthy Height formula grew between seven centimetres and 7.5cm a year, whereas those in the placebo group only grew 6cm.
The company has appointed Adelaide-based firm Baker Young to lead the likely listing, and the business is expected to have a market capitalisation of about $18 million once listed.
NGS chief executive Liron Fendell, a former corporate lawyer for pharmaceutical and biotech companies, was first introduced to the business when she took her then three-year-old son to the Schneider Children’s Medical Centre in Israel, where Professor Phillip and Professor Shamir were based.
Speaking to The Australian Financial Review, Ms Fendell said her son had been a picky eater and was struggling to gain weight or grow, but this changed when he started taking the Healthy Height formula.
“I met the team at Schneider’s and they’d studied this interaction between nutrition and growth and discovered that so many families around the world were struggling with it,” she said.
“At Schneider’s alone, 20,000 patient visits every year are from families with growth issues. There’s a growth hormone treatment available for those with a deficiency in it, or who are extremely short, but for the vast majority they’re just told to eat better and ensure their children are getting the right nutrients.
“When I started [as business development director] one of the co-founders was the CEO, but when we moved from R&D into sales and commercialisation, I became CEO.”
The company’s early development has been funded by a multimillion-dollar deal with pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, which sold the company’s formula under its Horlicks brand in India, prior to selling its consumer healthcare nutrition products to Unilever in April.
In addition to an ASX listing, Ms Fendell said the company was considering other capital raising avenues, but a local listing was the leading option.
The company began selling its products into the US in 2018 as a direct-to-consumer offering and via Amazon. Now its sights are set on China, where it has established distribution partnerships, as well as selling online.
“When we started in the US we were already getting nice traction from China and we had many companies coming to us wanting to partner, but we weren’t ready at the time,” Ms Fendell said.
“When we realised that a lot of our growth would be from Asia and were looking at how to fund it, we initially wanted to list on an Asian stock exchange, but we decided we should do it in a place that’s easier for us to do business, and Australia has a stable financial sector and the language barrier is much less.”
The business is also planning to start selling its products in Australia in the next few months.
As well as NGS’ Healthy Height formula, the company has developed a formula for kids aged 10 and up and is working on one to support young athletes, but its clinical trial was disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
“My son is a soccer player and I’d see many of his friends who are eight or nine, and their parents would buy them protein shakes meant for adults that are not fit for young children,” Ms Fendell said.
“We’re developing a suite of products to help families during the child’s growing years.”
As seen on: https://www.afr.com/companies/healthcare-and-fitness/israeli-children-s-supplement-business-headed-for-the-asx-20200731-p55heg