In a bid to improve digestive health worldwide, EZZ Life Science Holdings (ASX: EZZ) intends to widen distribution of its range of probiotics, specifically, its duo of recently launched biotic capsule and a support probiotic, assisting the treatment of helicobacter pylori (HP) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The move comes hot on the heels of multiple announcements relating to the risks associated with HP made by global health authorities in recent months.
In December 2021, HP was officially categorised as a “carcinogen” in a report published by the US-based National Institutes of Health.
Additionally, HP has already been named as a carcinogenic bacterium by the International Agency for Research on Cancer – an intergovernmental agency forming part of the World Health Organization and the United Nations.
With HP and its adverse consequences becoming a greater health issue globally, EZZ Life Science says it intends to raise public awareness of its health product range, especially products that seek to relieve symptoms of HP.
The fight against HP
Late last year, the life science company launched its Biotic EnGastro capsule and Biotic HHP support probiotic retail products to promote healthy digestive and immune systems. As part of its strategy to expand awareness, as well as win market share in new business areas, EZZ Life Science recruited life science veteran Glenn Cross to its board.
Kicking off 2022 on the back of a “dramatic 12 months of growth”, the company said it remains focused on developing products using genomic technology to address four key health challenges: genetic longevity, human papillomavirus (HPV), HP and weight management.
The life science company announced it is advancing a broad high-margin health and wellbeing product range including mixed fruit jellies as well as energy, immunity and lysine growth boosters.
As part of its global growth aspirations, the company is actively expanding its distribution network and using a proprietary online platform as a primary sales channel.
Expansion in the Chinese market
EZZ Life Science is also expanding its presence in China.
In December 2021, the company said it recorded around $10.6 million in sales through Alibaba Group’s renowned Tmall platform since launching in August 2020.
Other e-commerce channels included Alibaba subsidiary Taobao, online retailer JD.com, as well as “more than 100 e-commerce providers and 200 hosts” on Douyin – China’s version of social media platform TikTok.
Market statistics show that Tmall and JD.com are China’s largest online retailers with Tmall accounting for 64% of all business to consumer transactions in China in 2020, while JD.com comprises almost 26%.
Further afield, EZZ Life Science has previously said it uses “international distribution agencies” to ensure their products are marketed in the US and Singapore. Closer to home in Australia and New Zealand, EZZ’s products are currently being sold in more than 400 outlets.
Although online sales have been described as a “priority”, the healthcare company is also seeking to maintain a high street presence. EZZ will join forces with health and beauty chain Watsons to increase its offline market presence through Asia.
Taking stock of helicobacter pylori
According to EZZ Life Science co-founder and chief executive officer Mark Qin, HP infections affect more than half of the world’s adult population and is the fourth major cause of cancer-related deaths globally.
As things stand, definitive treatments remain scarce with as many as 15% of Australians estimated to be infected with HP.
Moreover, chronic infection with the bacterium was designated as carcinogenic and added to the growing list of known human carcinogens as part of a report mandated by the US Congress and prepared by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) for the Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services.
HP is also the only bacterium to be categorised as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization.
According to scientific research conducted in 2016, Africa had the highest pooled prevalence of HP infection of around 70% whereas Oceania had the lowest prevalence at around 24%.
In 2015, it was estimated that approximately 4.4 billion people were infected with HP worldwide. Scientists concur the prevalence of HP has been declining in highly industrialised countries but has “plateaued” at an elevated level in developing and newly industrialised countries.
As a result, EZZ Life Science is aiming to capitalise on the emergent opportunity in treating people infected with HP. The global HP diagnostics market size is projected to grow at around 7% per year to reach US$976 million (A$1.37 billion) by 2027.