Solvotrin agrees deal to supply China with drug for iron deficiency

Cork-based medicine development company agrees 20-year deal with Fosun Pharma

Solvotrin Therapeutics   executive chairman Peter Caldini and chief executive Pat O’Flynn.

Solvotrin Therapeutics executive chairman Peter Caldini and chief executive Pat O’Flynn.


Cork-based medicine development company Solvotrin Therapeutics has agreed a 20-year exclusive licensing and distribution deal for China with leading healthcare group Fosun Pharma for a product that helps people suffering from iron deficiency.

This is part of an ambitious global expansion plan that will grow its revenue from €5 million a year currently to €50 million annually, according to its co-founder and chief executive Pat O’Flynn. “China will be a significant part of that growth,” he said. “This is a significant uplift for us.”

Fosun Pharma, which is listed on the stock markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai, will make Solvotrin’s Active Iron product available on ecommerce channels in the coming months, and later through hundreds of thousands of retail outlets.

Solvotrin was set up in 2009 and is a privately-owned Irish healthcare and medicine development company based in Little Island in Cork.

Active Iron was developed with scientists at Trinity College in Dublin, and claims to use a “groundbreaking formulation” and an “innovative method of delivering iron which improves absorption and reduces side effects”.

The range was launched in 2016 and is designed to meet the specific needs of patients with “disease-related malnutrition associated with iron”.

The Irish company is currently selling about 25,000 units a month but expects this figure to double by the end of this year.


The partnership will target distribution for Active Iron across China, through a fully-owned subsidiary of Fosun Pharma called Wanbang Biopharmaceuticals. This company has access to more than 300,000 pharmacies in China,

Wanbang also operates a leading e-pharmacy channel and a network of medical reps, who will promote the Active Iron product range.

“We are excited to provide the Active Iron range of products to the people of China.” William WU, chief executive of Fosun Pharma said.

Solvotrin and Fosun Pharma said they would also “explore a clinical development programme” for foods for Chinese patients who experience iron deficiency anaemia as a result of chronic disease.

This year has seen Solvotrin significantly expand the Active Iron brand globally, with launches in Germany, the Benelux countries, New Zealand and online in the United States. It also plans to take the medicine to the Middle East.

Mr O’Flynn previously founded and was chief executive of AVR-Safeway Ltd, a licensed chemical waste management group. This business was sold to Veolia in 2008, the year in which Mr O’Flynn was a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.