Supplements group Solvotrin raises €6.7m to fund China, US expansion

Latest fundraising values Cork-based healthcare group at €45m

Solvotrin chief executive Pat O’Flynn (centre) with chief operating officer  Ronan McClafferty (left) and  George Walsh, chief financial officer

Solvotrin chief executive Pat O’Flynn (centre) with chief operating officer Ronan McClafferty (left) and George Walsh, chief financial officer

 

Solvotrin Therapeutics, a Cork-based supplements group, has raised €6.7 million in funding from new and existing investors as it looks to expand in China and the US.

The latest fundraising values the business at €45 million in what chief executive Pat O’Flynn says is a “big statement” for the business.

“It wasn’t a cakewalk to raise money in Covid when it is difficult to meet people,” he said, adding that its success was down to the “strength of our range of products and the strong reorder rates that we are experiencing in markets around the world”.

Investors in the funding round include London-based RAB Capital and existing investor Elkstone Ventures. RAB Capital founder Michael Alen Buckley will join the board as vice-chairman.

Mr O’Flynn said the funding and the company’s increased range of products and move into several new markets “sets us up to be cash positive by the end of next year”.

Solvotrin was founded as a spin-out from Trinity College in 2009 by scientist Prof John Gilmer and Mr O’Flynn, a former finalist in the EY entrepreneur of the year awards.

Initially focused on developing a form of aspirin that avoids the most common side effects associated with the drug, it has since switched its attention to iron supplements and more recently supplements for use in pregnancy.

Its Active Iron range “delivers greater absorption rates, delivering two to three times higher iron levels in the blood, without the common sides of effects of other iron preparations”, the company says. Side effects of oral iron products can include constipation, vomiting and nausea, as well as leaving a strong aftertaste.

The company says it is on target to deliver 40 per cent growth in sales this year, with 50 per cent growth in the UK market despite the impact of Covid-19.

It said the new funding would be used to support its expansion in international markets. Chief among these will be bedding in the giant Chinese market. Solvotrin signed a licence agreement with Fosun Pharma, the third largest operator in China, at the end of last year.

It is already selling its supplements range online in the country, and is going through a registration process that will allow the sale of its products in retail pharmacies throughout China, which will give it access to around 250,000 outlets.

It has targeted approval by late next year in a process that has been hampered by Covid disruption. The Fosun deal, which will run for 20 years, involved an upfront payment of €1.25 million to Solvotrin, as well as a series of milestone payments linked to sales targets.

US market

Solvotrin is also eyeing up the pivotal US market where its products are already available through Amazon. Having also launched in the Middle East earlier this year, the company says its Active Iron range is now on sale in 10 markets across four continents.

The new money raised will also help Solvotrin advance development of its pipeline , though that will also involve further fundraising in future years, the company said.

It had already raised €1.5 million earlier this year from existing shareholders, including Paddy Power co-founder David Power, and Anne Heraty, the founder and chief executive of CPL recruitment.

Mr O’Flynn said the company’s recently launched range for pregnant women and its Active Immunity product had “rapidly exceeded pre-launch expectations”.

Solvotrin recently reported results for 2019, when the company reported a reduced loss of just over €3 million.