According to Dato’ RaJen, there were religious issues raised in the use of collagen made from cow and pig by Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims and Jews. However, fewer concerns were voiced regarding the use of sheep collagen. Moreover, Australian sheep are generally disease-free and their meat is well accepted globally. 2. Halal ovine collagen Holista CollTech’s ovine collagen was sourced mainly from sheep, and was halal certified and thus was culturally acceptable to Muslim consumers55.
A halal certification provided assurance to Muslim consumers that the collagen’s sources and process fulfill the Shariah law. For non-Muslims, the certification guarantees high quality, since the certification will only be awarded if its applicant complies with good anufacturing practices. 3. Collaboration with university Also, in 2009, Holista CollTech group began col-laborating with Chemical Engineering Pilot Plant (CEPP), University Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) to conduct research on Kacip Fatimah and its anti-aging effect on skin.
For this purpose, in September 2009, Holista CollTech signed an Mou with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia to work on a formulation that would integrate UTM patent pending Kacip Fatimah anti-aging cream preparation with Holista CollTech’s ovine collagen formula, which would lead to the commercialization of a face cream in the first quarter of 2010.
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In September the same year, Holista CollTech teamed up with Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) to develop stability and standardization protocol in extracting halal ovine collagen and to manufacture products that contain halal ovine collagen with other nurturing substances.
One important concern addressed in this collaborative work was to produce halal enzymes that were useful in extracting collagen from sheep. It was reported that most of the enzymes currently used to extract collagen were derived from pigs, which is religiously offensive to Muslims. Initially, Holista CollTech utilized enzymes from fungus to avoid using those derived from pigs. However, this resulted in a very expensive process. Therefore, the collaboration with USM was meant to generate halal enzyme, which would help boost Holista CollTech’s profits.
Meanwhile, in November 2009, the company’s collaborative research effort with 111M nad produced several results, and the company and several Ill M scientists n applied for patents for the nanotechnology collagen and collagen eye drops. As of December 2009, the company had worked with five Malaysian companies that had ood manufacturing practice (GMP) certification, which was approved by the Malaysian Ministry of Health (MOH) and certified by the World Health Organization (WHO). 4. Company awarded with the BioNexus status. By September 2009, Holista CollTech was one of about 126 companies in Malaysia awarded with the BioNexus status.
In July 2007, the company was awarded the BioNexus status, which was a recognition granted to biotechnology firms that had fulfilled the criteria relating to biotechnology research and innovation set by the BiotechCorp, the agency responsible for monitoring BioNexus companies. Among others, BiotechCorp stipulates that a biotechnology firm must be involved in exploiting leading edge biotechnologies. The status, which was introduced in 2006, grants a biotechnology firm tax-deferred advantages, priority in getting government funding and access to BiotechCorp’s expertise and networks. . Comprising investors from Malaysia, Australia, Thailand and Singapore In addition to the AUD 500,000 raised in private placements in July 2009, in September 2009, the company successfully raised another AUD 2. 5 million of private placements comprising investors from Malaysia, Australia, Thailand and Singapore. Around that time, Holista CollTech also announced that its estimated sales fgure for 2009 would be about RM20 million (approximately USD6. 7 million). 6. Company obtains RM2 million loans from Malaysia Debt Ventures Bhd. MDV). MDV. By November 2009, Holista CollTech had received many sales orders for its ovine collagen from the Malaysian food and beverage industry and also from abroad. The company expected these sales to generate about RM9. 5 million in revenue. The orders enabled the company to obtain RM2 million loans from Malaysia Debt Ventures Bhd. (MDV). MDV, a subsidiary of the Malaysian Ministry of Finance, was a pecialized financial institution that provides financing to companies such as Holista CollTech that have received orders.
This funding helped Holista CollTech to finance the extraction and formulation of food grade collagen. It also served as working capital for the full commercialization of the company’s food grade ovine collagen. 7. Holista CollTech group provided training and development programs As it grew, Holista CollTech group needed to have a new management team to drive the company and it also needed to develop a second management layer. This was accomplished by hiring, firstly, three Malaysians with sales and marketing ackground, and secondly, people with more experience in product registrations and laboratory tasks.
In addition, according to Dato’ RaJen, in order to move forward the company needed to employ more people with international background to began promoting their products overseas, especially in China, India and other countries. As part of its retention program, Holista CollTech group provided training and development programs and enrich the working experiences ot its employees by allowing them to travel overseas and meet foreign researchers. In addition, its training programs focused on product registration, intellectual property and arketing.
The company planned to attract new talents and to broaden its retention package for existing employees by stock options. 8. Total Health Concept was designated as the marketing arm of the Holista CollTech Group. In December 2009, Total Health Concept was desig-nated as the marketing arm of the Holista CollTech Group. All the Group’s brands would be distributed through Total Health Concept, which would market them via pharmacies, or through Alterni, which sold the products directly to consumers.
In the beginning of 2009, Holista had already launched ABDROL and by December the company had marketed more than 30 nique products in various areas of health. The company’s Total Health Concept products were available in many pharmacies, including Guardian outlets throughout Malaysia, more than 25 Guardian outlets in Singapore and some outlets in Brunei. Alterni, on the other hand, continued to be the only Malaysian direct-to-customer healthcare company for the past eight years 9. Strong R&D team.
Holista CollTech tropical botanic businesses competed with both local and foreign companies. The tropical botanic-based businesses included botanical R&D and also herb extracts. The R&D subsidiary, Tropical Botanics, was not only involved in cientific research, but also contributed to the current debates in the science of botany, mainly tropical herbs, by publishing its research findings in many scientific publications and reports. 10. High sales orders for its ovine collagen from the Malaysian food and beverage industry and also from abroad. ompany expected these sales to generate about RM9. 5 million in revenue. Weaknesses 1 . Company faced a limited budget for future expansion. Mayban, the venture capitalist for the Holista Biotech since 2004, started to cash out its shares in the company and planned to dispose its holding in the company ompletely by the end of 2010. The main reason for the exit was that Mayban, as a government-based entity, was not allowed to invest in a foreign listed company. 2.
Product development in health and cosmetics is well-known to have a long gestational period and requires huge investment 3. Holista Colldid not have its own R&D facility As Holista CollTech did not have its own R&D facility, the development team members who were directly involved in research and product development would be stationed in labs. They were usually stationed at locations where the company had collaborative works. For example in December 2009, the company’s development team members did their work at USM and UTM labs. Opportunity 1.
Malaysia, being rich in natural resources and having a strong agriculture-based industry, provides a solid foundation for a thriving biotechnology industry The 2006 MARDI report stated that Malaysia had an estimated 15,000 known plant species, of which 3,700 were known to be useful with 2,000 species reportedly having medicinal value9. This abundant supply provides a strong basis for the development of natural products, which could contribute to an increase in the production of ingredients for ood and drink, cosmetics and natural health supplements (also called dietary or nutritional supplements).