Evonik’s Asian strategy: We will build on what Norel established

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Evonik says it is aiming to expand its probiotics portfolio in Asia with Ecobiol, using VIV Asia as a platform.

In December 2016, the German chemical company said it was ending its probiotic collaboration with Danish producer, Chr. Hansen, in the Asia Pacific region with it citing plans to develop markets for its own probiotic feed additives.

Ecobiel is one of the probiotic products the German chemical company acquired when it took over the probiotics business of Norel in July last year.

When asked whether this was this the first time the Asian market would be exposed to Ecobiol, Peter Freisler, head of gut health solutions at Evonik, told us:

“Norel has been already active with Ecobiol in Asia Pacific in several countries before. This fact also facilitated re-registration and administration issues. We will build on what Norel established and add a few more target countries.

“Ecobiol’s application in poultry and in aquaculture is well appreciated by customer [in South Asia]. Since poultry and aquaculture play a vital role in most Asian countries, we would like to take full advantage of that.”

In terms of the state of play regarding Evonik’s distribution network in Asia Pacific and on whether the paperwork was now completed on the re-registration of probiotics in the various markets, following the end of the alliance with Chr. Hansen, Freisler said:

“Evonik has a strong organizational footprint in Asia Pacific. Of course, re-registration and respective timelines differ from country to country, but we did our homework.”

He said demand is increasing for probiotics in Asia, particularly as regulatory pressures take hold. “The authorities in Vietnam are planning to prohibit the use of antibiotic growth promoters from July 2017 onwards.”

Freisler said Evonik’s objective is to bring all its gut health products to South Asia, along with the company’s segment associated services and expertise.

Expanded probiotic line

Evonik has recently enlarged its probiotic product line with GutCare PY1, the first probiotic the company itself has developed. In January this year, the producer introduced it in the US market saying other countries would follow.

The direct fed microbial is said to have a positive impact on the healthy balance of bacteria populations in the chicken gut, particularly under stressful conditions, with Evonik saying it initiated a multi-parameter selection process to screen more than 500 strains of the bacterial type Bacillus subtilis for probiotic properties.

“Different scientific in-vitro as well as in-vivo studies demonstrated the ability of Bacillus subtilis DSM 32315 to modify the gut microbiota to inhibit the conditions that encourage different necrotic enteritis outbreak isolates,” said the producer.

Dr Emmanuel Auer, head of the animal nutrition business at the German company, told us last year that in Evonik’s strategy to develop alternatives to antibiotics, probiotics were key.

He said the German firm believes the full potential of the probiotics market has not yet been fully exploited. “We would like to seize this opportunity,” said Auer.

The company has dedicated a significant share of its biotechnology R&D budget to probiotics. He said Evonik has strengths in the poultry area but also wants to exploit its good position in the pig and aqua segment in relation to probiotic research. 

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