When we started BioGaia more than 30 years ago, our motto was ‘do good and have fun’. With this attitude as our guiding light we have developed into a world-leading probiotics company at the forefront of microbiome research with safe, effective and consumer-friendly products on the market.

PETER ROTHSCHILD, FOUNDER

Key figures (%)

Sales by market and segment

Sales divided between the business areas child health and adult health

Annual sales past 5 years (SEKm)

0 %
Proportion own brand and co-branding

Key events 2020

1 2 3 4

Quarter

BioGaia signs exclusive agreement with the company Ethical Nutrition for sales of BioGaia Protectis drops and tablets in Argentina

Study published showing that BioGaia’s probiotic for oral health L. reuteri Prodentis, reduces bleeding of the gums

2 2 3 4

Quarter

BioGaia’s Board revises its dividend proposal

3 2 3 4

Quarter

Study published showing that L. reuteri Protectis reduces pain in children with functional abdominal pain (FAP).

BioGaia’s Board withdraws its proposal regarding an extra dividend

4 2 3 4

Quarter

BioGaia carries out a directed new share issue of 2.86 million class B shares, raising proceeds for the company of SEK 1.1 billion

BioGaia warns of reduced sales due to Covid-19

BioGaia Group

(number of employees December 2020)

BioGaia AB (96)

BioGaia Biologics Inc.
100% subsidiary
(2)

BioGaia Japan Inc.
100% subsidiary
(24)

BioGaia Pharma
96% subsidiary
(2)

BioGaia Production
100% subsidiary
(29)

MetaboGen AB
92% subsidiary
(7)

Company presentation

Mission
BioGaia’s mission is to be the ground-breaking leader in probiotics and contribute to improved health by educating people and providing probiotic products for defined indications.

Values
Innovation
Collaboration
Passion

Parent Company BioGaia AB’s class B shares
are listed on the Mid Cap segment of the Nasdaq OMX Nordic Stockholm Exchange.

Positioning
Food supplements with clinically-tested, high-quality probiotics that are sold through pharmacies and via online retail platforms. In most markets the products are recommended by doctors or other healthcare professionals. However, BioGaia is also meeting rising demand directly from consumers.

MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN

DIGITALISATION MAJOR POTENTIAL FOR BIOGAIA

The probiotics market is changing fast. Consolidation of a fairly fragmented market is taking place and the major players are actively acquiring small probiotic companies with promising products. A number of new, major companies such as Kerry, ADM and Novozymes have entered the extremely hot probiotics market.

Peter Rothschild, Chairman of the Board
Edit

DIGITALISATION MAJOR POTENTIAL FOR BIOGAIA

The probiotics market is changing fast. Consolidation of a fairly fragmented market is taking place and the major players are actively acquiring small probiotic companies with promising products. A number of new, major companies such as Kerry, ADM and Novozymes have entered the extremely hot probiotics market.

BioGaia has so far grown organically with great success. We are optimistic and believe we can continue to grow at a fast pace but we have also decided to try to participate in the ongoing consolidation in our own way. In order to improve our opportunities for a successful acquisition strategy, through a directed new share issue we invited in two very strong companies each of which can help to strengthen BioGaia in the prevailing new market situation.

Cargill, one of the largest private companies in the USA, is one of these companies with which we have been working for a while now to develop new products. EQT Public Value Fund is the second company. A highly reputed and very financially strong global investment organisation, EQT can contribute with both capital and skills related to acquisitions as well as an international and very knowledgeable contact network. As well as contributing with capital, Cargill can also provide considerable industrial knowhow. The new issue brought in approximately SEK 1.1 billion and puts us in a financial situation that permits significant acquisitions.

So, what are we looking for? We can consider acquisitions along the entire value chain – from manufacture to distribution – with the requirement that they provide better control, growth or profitability.

The extremely strong digitalisation trend that has been underway for some years gained enormous power in 2020, due to Covid-19. We have adapted to this megatrend in many markets. Especially in the really large ones such as China and the USA but also in countries such as South Korea and Vietnam. We plan to accelerate our own and our distributors’ expertise in selling directly to consumers. This is a very exciting development which may require us to make acquisitions to complement the skills we already have in this area. I am convinced that online retail and digitalisation offer significant potential for BioGaia’s existing and future products. With digitalisation, but also growing consumer interest in health products, BioGaia’s brand will become even more significant and we are now considerably strengthening our marketing capacity in terms of people and resources. BioGaia’s brand is global and has a better spread than all our competitors, large and small. The brand is an excellent tool in the fierce competition for consumer attention not just specifically from other probiotics companies but also from other companies in the health segment.

As announced in our press release, we have started a new business, BioGaia Invest, whose mission is to make minority investments in small companies that can support BioGaia’s sales growth. We have therefore invested in a diagnostics company which we believe will help us to grow in the bone health segment and in another company that works with the skin microbiome, where we see a number of opportunities for collaboration which can boost our growth rate over time. We are interested in increasing our investments in companies of this type with the aim of creating a favourable ecosystem for BioGaia with innovative and sustainable companies.

At our 2020 Annual General Meeting, two new Board members were elected, with skills within digitalisation and sustainability. These are important given how fast the new technology is developing and the demands that aware consumers are making on products and services.

BioGaia’s products have a very attractive profile since they make a strong contribution to global health (one of the UN’s global goals) and we continue to invest in research and development in order to solve health problems for people all over the world.

Peter Rothschild, Chairman of the board, BioGaia

MESSAGE FROM THE CEO

BIOGAIA UPS THE PACE – WITH THE CONSUMER IN FOCUS

2020 was a different year. For many, both people and companies, it was of course a difficult year but there are also many positive aspects worth highlighting. Above all, there are many lessons to learn and by taking these onboard and adapting our business accordingly, I am convinced that they will strengthen us as a company over time.

Isabelle Ducellier, CEO
Edit

BIOGAIA UPS THE PACE – WITH THE CONSUMER IN FOCUS

2020 was a different year. For many, both people and companies, it was of course a difficult year but there are also many positive aspects worth highlighting. Above all, there are many lessons to learn and by taking these onboard and adapting our business accordingly, I am convinced that they will strengthen us as a company over time.

Like many other organisations, we succeeded in a short time in adjusting our operations to function almost entirely digitally, both internally and in collaboration with our customers. Among other things, together with our partners we arranged some 70 webinars for doctors and held a large number of digital customer meetings. We also succeeded with some 50 product launches with most of the launch symposia and other arrangements taking place virtually. I would like to especially mention our continued rollout of Osfortis, our product for bone health, which in addition to the USA now also is available in Sweden, Switzerland and very soon in Japan. Furthermore, BioGaia Gastrus has been launched in a large number of markets, primarily in Latin America. We have also strengthened our oral health portfolio with two new products, Prodentis Mum and Prodentis Kids, which were launched in Japan and the USA during the year.

Sales in 2020 got off to a strong start with growth in line with expectations and, despite the Covid-19 crisis starting seriously back in March, we had a sales growth of 7% in the first quarter. In the second quarter, growth was 10%. However, in the third quarter we could see that the pandemic was starting to have a negative impact on our sales and the full year ended with a 3% decrease. What we mainly saw was weak sales in some of our largest and oldest markets, such as Italy and Spain. Here, lengthy lockdowns affected BioGaia’s sales since consumers could not visit doctors and physical pharmacies where most of the sales in these countries take place. On the other hand, we saw good sales in countries where we have implemented an omnichannel strategy, such as the USA and China.

So one of the most important lessons comes from consumers. Lockdowns and restrictions on physical meetings led people to investigate digital alternatives. A growing number started to buy online. This transition and the results of changed buyer behaviour took place at a rate never seen before and has in many cases become ‘the new normal’. This strengthens us in our conviction that we need to invest more in marketing directly to consumers in many of our markets.

In parallel with this changed buying behaviour there is a global trend towards preventive healthcare. The pandemic has further strengthened this and people are increasing taking responsibility for their own health. Above all, we can see a strong increase in interest in the immune system and products that strengthen it. At the same time as we invest in both physical and online sales channels, we are also working with our partners to develop new products to strengthen BioGaia’s global brand and meet consumer needs. In the spring we are looking forward, among other things, to launching a totally new product portfolio in the USA with a focus on immune-strengthening products.

BioGaia’s focus on research is part of our DNA and one of our key competitive advantages. In terms of research, however, 2020 was for understandable reasons a tough year since many studies were delayed due to the pandemic. In 2021 on the other hand we look forward to the results from studies within several interesting areas, relating to both existing and totally new applications, including IBS, diverticulitis and upper respiratory tract infections.

In 2020, we took many decisive steps forward in our sustainability initiatives and the aim is to integrate this into operations at all levels. Among other things we implemented an internal Code of Conduct, a whistleblower function and all employees attended training in anti-corruption. The phase-out of palm oil continued and products free from milk protein, gluten and lactose were launched, as well as vegan capsules.

In a year such as this it was natural for us to expand our community engagement. Among other things we supported a local restaurant by purchasing meals that were then donated to the Karolinska Hospital and we donated hand disinfectant to the local hospital in Lund. We also supported the Panzi Hospital, run by Nobel peace laureate Doctor Mukwege, with Covid tests. Read more about our sustainability work here and in BioGaia’s first separate sustainability report, prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative Standards for sustainability reporting.

Finally, I would like to thank all BioGaia’s employees, our customers and other partners, for your patience and hard work in these difficult and challenging times, which enabled the successful implementation of our plans. I do hope that 2021 will be a year in which the world gradually returns to normal.

Isabelle Ducellier, CEO

MESSAGE FROM MANAGING DIRECTORS, SUBSIDIARIES

Sara Malcus
Sara Malcus

MetaboGen’s research focuses on the microbiome and finding unique opportunities that can be developed into the next generation of probiotic products.

Sara Malcus​​, Managing Director, MetaboGen
Edit

MetaboGen’s research focuses on the microbiome and finding unique opportunities that can be developed into the next generation of probiotic products. The bacterial strains we mostly work with right now are anaerobic, which means they are sensitive to oxygen. This makes them very difficult to handle and we have therefore had to develop a production technology that allows the bacteria to survive both during the manufacturing process and in a commercial product. This technology is patented by MetaboGen and is unique.

One of the research areas where MetaboGen has made the greatest progress is within metabolic disease. Here we already have a product in a clinical phase. A safety study on healthy volunteers was carried out with good results last year and we are now preparing to begin efficacy studies, which we are looking forward to starting during 2021.

In the previous year, we also worked with scaling up our processes with regard to both technical capacity and expertise. This work will be implemented in 2021. On the capacity side this includes relocating to larger and more specially equipped premises where we will be able to both conduct tests and produce on a larger scale than today.

We have also strengthened our team with new employees. MetaboGen is still a small company but since we work internationally – and global interaction is increasing all the time – we have placed great emphasis, in addition to looking for skills, to also actively recruit people from a diversity perspective in terms of age, gender and nationality. We are currently seven employees, four women and three men, with five different nationalities. All employees have a scientific and laboratory background but different key skills, within microbiology, bioinformatics, chemistry and clinical product development.

We have made good progress since MetaboGen was founded in 2011. At that time we were pioneers within an area that is today a hot field of research worldwide. Despite this, we are only starting to completely understand the microbiota and how our gut bacteria can contribute to health.

I look forward to yet another exciting year where MetaboGen takes decisive steps forward towards the development of the next generation of probiotic products.

Sara Malcus,
Managing Director MetaboGen

Peter Persson
Peter Persson

BioGaia Production is critical for BioGaia’s operations. A large proportion of our most important product, drops, is manufactured here.

Peter Persson, Managing Director, BioGaia Production
Edit

BioGaia Production is critical for BioGaia’s operations. A large proportion of our most important product, drops, is manufactured here.

This is why in response to Covid-19 we quickly took a number of measures to ensure production, product quality and employee safety. These included extended hygiene and cleaning routines and we introduced both a ban on visitors to the plant and a strict quarantine policy. Face masks were also mandatory for employees. At the slightest sign of symptoms, or if a family member was at risk of becoming infected, the employee was not allowed to come into work. This led to a shortage of staff which was a challenge from time to time. Thanks to our flexible and loyal employees, however, we managed to keep production going and I am proud to say that throughout 2020 we produced and delivered entirely according to plan.

During the past year, we installed three new production lines – new machines for BioGaia Protectis minipack, a totally new line the manufacture of tablets in bottles and a capsule filler. Even during a ‘normal’ year the installation of new equipment and training employees in its use puts some strain on the business. During a year in which we also needed to separate the external installation team from our own employees, the challenges were even greater. We solved this by giving the installers their own entrance and coffee room.

One challenge has been keeping employees motivated since these adjustments were very trying for them. Although we will probably have to keep our extraordinary routines for a while longer, I am glad the year is over. Now I look forward to an exciting 2021 in the spirit of expansion,

Peter Persson,
Managing Director
BioGaia Production

Keitaro Nomura
Keitaro Nomura

The Covid-19 pandemic had a very big impact on the Japanese economy. The number of patient visits to clinics and hospitals decreased sharply and fell to approximately 50% in July 2020 compared to the previous year

Keitaro Nomura, Managing Director, BioGaia Japan
Edit

The Covid-19 pandemic had a very big impact on the Japanese economy. The number of patient visits to clinics and hospitals decreased sharply and fell to approximately 50% in July 2020 compared to the previous year.

The decline in visits to dental clinics, which are an important sales channel for BioGaia Japan, was even greater – falling in some months to 40% below the levels in corresponding periods of 2019. Conducting operations under such conditions was extremely difficult. These circumstances naturally also had an effect on our major customers since their businesses declined significantly.

By the end of the year, however, we had managed to turn sales around to levels comparable to the year before and BioGaia Japan posted a profit in 2020. This was made possible due to significant contributions from our sales network who work directly with dental clinics. In the past five years we have marketed our products under the BioGaia brand directly to dental clinics. Thanks to the products’ excellent clinical results, we have succeeded in building a strong brand in the Japanese market and this has greatly contributed to growth in this sales channel.

Starting in 2021 we will focus on further strengthening our direct sales network since this is more resistant against recessions and other difficult situations. We will also make even more efforts to be a model for sustainable growth and a profit-driven structure within the BioGaia Group.

Keitaro Nomura,
Managing Director
BioGaia Japan

Nigel Titford
Nigel Titford

BioGaia Pharma is a subsidiary of BioGaia. This means we can benefit from 30 years’ experience of research within the microbiota when we develop the biological product category which the FDA in the USA calls Live Biotherapeutic Products, which refers to pharmaceutical products that stem from the microbiota.

Nigel Titford, Managing Director, BioGaia Pharma
Edit

BioGaia Pharma is a subsidiary of BioGaia. This means we can benefit from 30 years’ experience of research within the microbiota when we develop the biological product category which the FDA in the USA calls Live Biotherapeutic Products, which refers to pharmaceutical products that stem from the microbiota.

Potential product candidates are selected early in the discovery or pre-clinical phase and the requirement is that they have a potential effect in well-defined medical indications. Most candidates come from BioGaia’s own research and bank of probiotic strains or are licensed in. Through BioGaia Pharma’s established network of doctors and researchers, the products are developed up to and including the early clinical development phase. Subsequently, the project can be licensed out for further development by or in partnership with pharmaceutical or similar companies.

During 2020 we worked with two projects, both with candidates in a development phase. One product candidate has potential for use in mild to moderate ulcerous colic, which is one of the diseases included under the designation inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). A lot of research is taking place into IBD and even though the cause has not yet been fully identified, there are many indications that the interaction between the microbiota, inflammation and the so-called ‘leaky gut’ are highly significant.

The second product candidate is intended to be used in specific motility disorders in the intestine that cause constipation and where today’s solutions are not optimal.

We have mainly focused on developing study products for these two product candidates. In parallel we have also completed trial applications for two clinical studies. Study centres have been chosen and contracted and the studies are planned to start in 2021.

2021 will be an exciting year in which I look forward to being able to provide additional information about both the product candidates and the clinical studies.

Nigel Titford,
Managing Director
BioGaia Pharma

BioGaia 30 år

BIOGAIA 30 YEARS

BioGaia is a Swedish world-leading probiotic company that has been at the forefront of microbiome research for more than 30 years. BioGaia develops, markets and sells probiotic products with documented health benefits. The company operates throughout the value chain partly through the company and partly through global networks of leading, independent researchers and specialists, production experts and local distribution partners. The distribution partners are nutrition and pharmaceutical companies which sell BioGaia’s products in more than 100 countries.

BioGaia’s products contain strains of the lactic acid bacterium L. reuteri (Limosilactobacillus reuteri, formerly known as Lactobacillus reuteri). L. reuteri is one of few bacteria that has developed in symbiosis with humans. Due to this it naturally colonises and has a strong adaptation and interacts with us. Results from clinical studies with BioGaia’s probiotic strains have been published in more than 200 articles in scientific journals, proving that they are effective and safe in children and adults.

BioGaia wants to contribute to better health in the world by developing and offering clinically-proven and user-friendly probiotic products.

1990

Founded by Peter Rothschild and Jan Annwall

1998

IPO on Nasdaq Stockholm

2000

BioGaia launches world’s first probiotic chewable tablets
Agreement with Ascendis (South Africa)

2002

BioGaia Production founded

2003

Agreement with Nóos (Italy)

2004

BioGaia launches the world’s first probiotic drops
Agreement with Verman (Finland)

2020

Directed new issue makes EQT Public Value and Cargill new major owners in BioGaia AB

2018

Foundation to Prevent Antibiotic Resistance founded

2017

Subsidiary BioGaia Pharma founded

2014

Agreement with Abbott (Latin America, Asia)
BioGaia invests in MetaboGen

2008

First agreement with Nestlé

2006

Agreement with Ewopharma AG (Eastern Europe) and Ferring (Middle East)
Subsidiary BioGaia Japan founded

BIOGAIA’S VALUE CHAIN

Click or hover to read more about BioGaia’s process through each step of the value chain

 

Research

Product
development

Raw
material use

Production

Packing

Distribution

Sales

In the supply chain, BioGaia takes care of logistics as well as quality assurance and control of products and production.

VALUE CREATION FOR BIOGAIA’S STAKEHOLDERS

Society
BioGaia contributes to society by being a good citizen and by offering products that contribute to improved health

SEK 49.7m in tax
SEK 3.7m to charities
Lower cost to society for ill health

Consumers
BioGaia offers consumers probiotic products that contribute to improved health.

5 new products, all without palm oil
46 product launches in new and existing markets

Employees
BioGaia offers its employees a meaningful and stimulating workplace where employees feel job satisfaction

40% women in Executive Management
1,9% sickness absence 2020 (BioGaia AB)
160 employees

Researchers
BioGaia contributes to increased knowledge of probiotics

14% of net sales to research and development
214 published articles (Dec 2020)
13,900 individuals have participated in studies (Dec 2020)

Stakeholders

Distributors
BioGaia builds long-term relationships with distributors and supports them within sales and marketing

90% have signed the Code of Conduct
7% average growth in past 5 years

Suppliers
BioGaia contributes to development of suppliers through long-term relationships and being a reliable partner

100% of key suppliers have signed the Code of Conduct

Shareholders
Through good risk management and a long-term strategy BioGaia offers a stable value appreciation for its shareholders

31% operating margin

MARKET TRENDS

During 2020 two trends in particular dominated the world: digitalisation and preventive health care with a focus on the immune system.

Sustainable companies are the future
Despite the pandemic, companies continued to invest in sustainability. Consumers and other stakeholders are becoming more and more aware and sustainability is increasingly a key requirement for purchases or collaboration.
 
Increased focus on sustainability
BioGaia is intensifying its work with sustainability and in 2020 took several key initiatives to ensure good business ethics, to improve environmental impact and offer a workplace that motivates and creates wellbeing.

Everyone talks about the immune system
The incentive to remain healthy and not be infected by Covid-19 has meant that interest in products that strengthen the immune system, including probiotics, has risen sharply. As an example, statistics show that the number of searches for ‘immune’ increased by more than 100% between June 2019 and June 2020 (Lumina Intelligence 2020). Awareness that probiotics, in particular in combination with vitamin D, have immune strengthening effects has also increased.
 
Upswing for probiotics with vitamin D
BioGaia has been offering probiotic products combined with vitamin D, which has positive effects on health, for several years.

Digitalisation at rocket speed
Lockdowns and restrictions on physical meetings have led people to investigate the digital alternatives. Groups of people who previously never used this technology have been tempted – or forced – to go digital. This transition has also been very fast and in many cases become ‘the new normal’.
 
BioGaia’s digital journey
Like so many other companies, BioGaia has where possible transitioned to a smoothly functioning digital operation, both internally and externally. Together with distribution partners in more than 100 countries, a large number of webinars and virtual production launches have been arranged. BioGaia has also intensified the work of making its products available online.

PAR Foundation

Development of antibiotic resistance is not taking time out
The focus on the pandemic has overshadowed another future global catastrophe, galloping antibiotic resistance. According to field reports and surveys from WHO/Europe, there is a risk of an increased spread of antibiotic resistance in Europe since erroneous use of antibiotics has increased as a result of the pandemic.
 
More probiotics, fewer antibiotics
Due to their immune-strengthening effects probiotics can play a key role in the fight against antibiotic resistance. A study published in the European Journal of Public Health shows for example a correlation between intake of BioGaia’s probiotic L. reuteri DSM 17938 and a reduced need of antibiotics for children.
 
The foundation started by BioGaia in 2017 makes a financial contribution to research and information about measures that reduce the need for antibiotics. In 2021, funds will be distributed to projects with a focus on preventive measures in elderly people.

DIGITALISATION AND CONSUMER FOCUS THE WAY FORWARD

Linda Hägglund, Marketing Manager and Johannes Asplund, Global Digital Business Manager will target the consumers.

Edit

BioGaia’s marketing model, which is based on medical marketing, has been one of the success factors during the company’s 30 years in the probiotics industry. The emphasis now is on complementing this model with an increased focus on consumers. And to reach them requires being where they are – online.

Medical marketing was unique in the probiotics industry when BioGaia chose this model. Focusing on solid research and using this for marketing purposes, convinces doctors of the positive effects of the products so that they recommend them to their patients.

This flow still forms the basis of marketing and will continue to do so. In most of the over 100 countries in which its products are sold, BioGaia’s distributors have salespersons who visit doctors and other healthcare professionals.

At the same time there has been a shift in recent years. From previously mainly having used probiotics to ‘solve a problem’ such as the baby crying, a growing number of people are taking probiotics for preventive reasons. Research into the effects of probiotics on the immune system combined with this growing interest in health and staying well, has created a ‘new’ target group of wellness consumers. More and more consumers are searching for information about probiotics themselves and not even seeing a doctor before purchasing their product in an online store.

This development has accelerated in recent years and reached full gallop in the wake of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. Today, for example online sales account for 80% of BioGaia’s sales in the USA. Similar figures can be seen in China and Vietnam and the growth rate in digital sales channels continues to rise faster than physical retail.

BioGaia has steadily complemented its marketing model with more consumer-oriented marketing. In 2020 further steps towards this expansion were taken by strengthening in-house skills with employees with a solid background in consumer marketing and online retail.

“Previously, consumers were recommended by their doctor to buy a BioGaia product and went to a pharmacy to buy it. Today, when consumers themselves are deciding which products they want and then click them home via an online store, we need to adapt to this changed consumer journey,” says Johannes Asplund, Global Digital Business Manager at BioGaia.

In parallel with this trend, competition in the probiotics market has intensified noticeably. BioGaia’s aim is to build a strong, global consumer brand and therefore focus increasingly on supporting distribution partners with communication and marketing.

“To succeed in creating a global consumer brand, we must have a closer collaboration with our partners and support them with consumer insights and a strong and clear brand offering,” says Linda Hägglund, Marketing Manager at BioGaia.

IN 2020 THE WHOLE WORLD SWITCHED TO DIGITAL. THE CONSEQUENCES FOR BIOGAIA INCLUDED
  • arranging four ‘BioGaia Brilliant Mind Studios’ webinars attended by doctors from all over the world
  • together with partners arranging 70 webinars with a total of over 30,000 participating doctors and other healthcare professionals
  • carrying out 33 ‘Coffee with Lotta’ – short, informal webinars for distribution partners- with a total of over 1,100 participants
  • carrying out 46 product launches, mostly digitally
  • organising a digital ‘exam’ for 18 participants who had studied at the BioGaia Academy
  • intensified efforts to offer products via online outlets in even more countries
  • seeing a strong increase in online sales in many markets
  • launching the entire Adult Health portfolio in online pharmacies in Sweden
  • working from home for much of the year in all parts of operations where this was possible

NEW MEMBERS OF BIOGAIA’S
BOARD OF DIRECTORS

BioGaia is looking to the future and has strengthened the Board with valuable skills and experience from relevant sectors and areas.

Through my sound experience in the field of sustainability from one of the really major players and in an industry of great complexity and high pace, I hope to be able to contribute with strategic sustainability thinking, innovative creation and guidance in governance-related issues.

Vanessa Rothschild
Edit

You were elected to BioGaia’s Board in 2020, tell us a little about your background.
I studied International Economics and Management at Università L. Bocconi in Milan from where I have a Bachelor’s degree. I then studied business and market strategy and decision psychology at HEC in Paris.

My first job was an internship in the non-profit organisation Fund for Peace in Washington DC, where I wrote a market plan for the project Better Business for Better Communities. It was there that my interest in uniting target-driven organisations with business-based methods and strategies was born.

When I returned to Europe, I turned to BioGaia’s distributor in France and successfully launched BioGaia’s products as marketing manager for the distributor at the time, Bioethic. I then became a Business Controller at H&M.

With my focus on business development and as the daughter of one of BioGaia’s founders, my next step was a position as Regional Sales Manager at BioGaia. There I was responsible for major markets such as Italy and France as well as a launch in Brazil.

When I then wished to continue to develop outside the company, in line with my interest in leadership, the position of COO at the leadership development company Iero popped up. In conjunction with this development period I combined my passion for entrepreneurship with my desire to develop ideas. I then applied to return to the H&M Group this time with a focus on integrating sustainability into the core business. Since 2016 I have worked in various global positions within sustainability, most recently as group manager for steering and development with a focus on circular business models. In December 2020, I became employed as Chief Innovation Officer at Itsapark, the H&M Group’s new digital enterprise within sustainable lifestyle, based in Berlin.

My interest in sustainable business creation was formed in an entrepreneurial family with strong values based on ideas and openness. Growing up in the French countryside, nature is an important part of my life and I really enjoy mountains on skis in deep snow or hiking. Family and friends are equally important and since I recently moved to Berlin, I am looking forward to settling here.

What can you bring to BioGaia’s Board?
Through my sound experience in the field of sustainability from one of the really major players and in an industry of great complexity and high pace, I hope to be able to contribute with strategic sustainability thinking, innovative creation and guidance in governance-related issues.

Vanessa Rothschild

I hope I can contribute with the speed and energy from the start-up world. Thanks to my operational job, I will be able to contribute with expertise but also with my global network to continue building BioGaia’s digital channels with a focus on increased brand awareness and a strong positioning, where D2C will be a driving channel in BioGaia’s journey going forward.

Maryam Ghahremani
Edit

You were elected to BioGaia’s Board in 2020, tell us a little about your background.
I was born in Iran but came to Sweden when I was six. I studied business administration at Lund University and Kristianstad University. After my studies, I moved to Stockholm and worked in the marketing departments of Make Up Store and Notar. I then joined Aftonbladet and Schibsted where I held several leading positions including running Sofis Mode and The You Way. From there I applied for management roles with technology companies Wrapp and Acast and in 2018 took over as CEO of Bambuser.

At Bambuser I was initially an interim CEO at a time when the company was struggling with the existing product focused towards media companies. Bambuser had built a fantastic live video technology but had not managed to commercialise it. A few months later we identified a live shopping trend in China and used Bambuser’s basic technology to create the western world’s leading product within live shopping. Through our product range we are now driving the transition in retail and the development of the next generation’s online shopping. This is an exciting industry in which things move fast and this suits me perfectly.

What can you bring to BioGaia’s Board?
I hope I can contribute with the speed and energy from the start-up world. Thanks to my operational job, I will be able to contribute with expertise but also with my global network to continue building BioGaia’s digital channels with a focus on increased brand awareness and a strong positioning, where D2C will be a driving channel in BioGaia’s journey going forward.

Maryam Ghahremani

I believe that BioGaia can benefit from an owner like EQT, a global investor with broad experience of companies within healthcare, with a large network of advisers as well as resources within sustainability and digitalisation. I have experience of work on international boards and driving fast change programmes and growth in medium-sized companies. My role as a member of the Board, and EQT’s role as owner, is to support BioGaia’s continued development, increase the growth rate and benefit from EQT’s resources in this work.

Niklas Ringby
Edit

Tell us a little about your background.
I am a partner at EQT and Co-Head of EQT Public Value which invests in listed companies in northern Europe. In addition to BioGaia, I am a member of the board of BHG, a fast-growing online retailer and have previously been a member of a number of boards representing EQT. My daily job is to lead our investment team and beside that I am also a member of EQT’s Extended Executive Committee, which is the broader management group within EQT.
Before I joined EQT eleven years ago, I worked at Boston Consulting Group helping large companies with strategy initiatives and various venture capital companies with company reviews of possible acquisition candidates.

I have an M.Sc. in Economics and Business Administration from the Stockholm School of Economics and I also studied the MBA programme at Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. I have always been interested in technology so in parallel with my studies at the Stockholm School of Economics I gained an M.Sc. in Industrial Engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, including studying programming at ETH in Zurich.

Throughout my entire career I have worked with companies within healthcare, service and technology, media and telecom. What I enjoy most is to invest in and work with companies that offer a unique service or product, and which are looking for fast growth and this is really true of BioGaia.

What can you bring to BioGaia’s Board?
I believe that BioGaia can benefit from an owner like EQT, a global investor with broad experience of companies within healthcare, with a large network of advisers as well as resources within sustainability and digitalisation. I have experience of work on international boards and driving fast change programmes and growth in medium-sized companies. My role as a member of the Board, and EQT’s role as owner, is to support BioGaia’s continued development, increase the growth rate and benefit from EQT’s resources in this work.

Niklas Ringby

PRODUCTS IN 100 COUNTRIES

BioGaia’s products are clinically-tested, high-quality probiotics sold by pharmacies and via online platforms worldwide. The product range includes oil drops, chewable tablets and lozenges, capsules and oral rehydration solution (ORS). In most countries the products are registered as a food supplement.

Paediatrics account for almost 80% of total sales and the largest product is BioGaia Protectis drops.

2020 saw the launch of five products in new variants – without palm oil

Four products for children
BioGaia Protectis drops
BioGaia Protectis drops with 10 µg vitamin D
BioGaia Protectis tablets with strawberry flavour
BioGaia Protectis tablets with orange flavour and 10 µg vitamin D

…and one for adults
BioGaia Protectis tablets with orange flavour and 20 µg vitamin D

BioGaia Protectis Immune Active

Interest in products that strengthen the immune system has increased substantially, mainly due to the pandemic and a desire not to become infected by Covid-19. In pace with this, awareness that probiotics, in particular in combination with vitamin D, have immune-strengthening effects has increased among consumers.

In spring 2021 Everidis, BioGaia’s partner in the USA, will launch

BioGaia Protectis Baby Drops Immune Active, with 15 µg/600 IU vitamin D3
BioGaia Protectis Tablets Immune Active, with 20 µg/800 IU vitamin D3
BioGaia Protectis Capsules Immune Active, with 50 µg/2 000 IU vitamin D3

Two line extensions were also launched during the year, BioGaia Prodentis Mum, an oral health product for pregnant and nursing women, and BioGaia Prodentis Kids, an oral health product for children. Both products were launched in Japan and the USA.

Phase-out of palm oil

BioGaia is making active efforts to phase out palm oil from products that previously contained this ingredient. At the end of 2020, approximately 63% (35%) of the product range was available in variants without palm oil. By 2023, all products will be offered in variants without palm oil and by 2025 BioGaia will no longer sell products containing palm oil. The task of phasing out palm oil is challenging since BioGaia must ensure that the transition does not compromise the products’ quality or stability. With sales in over 100 countries, phasing out also takes time.

Free from

More and more consumers are demanding products free from allergens. During the year, BioGaia complemented its documentation to meet EU requirements and can now offer Protectis drops and tablets (with and without vitamin D) and capsules free from gluten, lactose and milk protein. BioGaia Protectis capsules are also vegan.

Life cycle

A new life-cycle assessment was carried out during the year where both packaging and product ingredients were assessed. The assessment, which was more extensive than the life-cycle assessment performed in 2013, gives BioGaia a better understanding of the company’s environmental impact. A tool has also been developed which allows the results from the assessment to be integrated into the product development process.

PRODUCTS IN 100 COUNTRIES​

BIOGAIA MAKES KEY INVESTMENT IN EDUCATION WITH A NEW DIGITAL PLATFORM

Education is one of the cornerstones of BioGaia’s operations. Already in the 1990s seminars were arranged at trade fairs for doctors and other healthcare professionals, which today are an established and extensive activity. In parallel with this type of education another, more in-depth form of training has been developed.

Charlotta Grahn, Corporate Marketing Manager Education and Events at BioGaia and responsible for BioGaia Academy, describes the initiative.

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Education is one of the cornerstones of BioGaia’s operations. Already in the 1990s seminars were arranged at trade fairs for doctors and other healthcare professionals, which today are an established and extensive activity. In parallel with this type of education another, more in-depth form of training has been developed.

In 2017, this initiative was launched under the name BioGaia Academy. Charlotta Grahn, Corporate Marketing Manager Education and Events at BioGaia and responsible for BioGaia Academy, describes the initiative.

BIOGAIA MAKES KEY INVESTMENT IN EDUCATION WITH A NEW DIGITAL PLATFORM

What is the BioGaia Academy?
“BioGaia Academy is the name of the education umbrella that covers BioGaia’s most important and most extensive external training. This key investment started in 2017 when we developed training for paediatricians with the main aim of increasing knowledge of probiotics and encouraging global scientific collaboration. The programme has been developed in close cooperation with leading experts in the field who are also tutors for the course. The education mainly consists of digital online modules for self-study with some complementary webinars and face-to-face meetings to promote interaction and networking.”

How many courses have you arranged so far?
“Following the pilot course, which started in April 2018, we held one additional course for paediatricians in 2020. We are currently working on developing a corresponding course for dentists which will start in 2021. During the year we will also launch a training programme in paediatrics aimed at our partners.”

“Our goal has been to have a maximum of 20 doctors on each course and some 35 doctors have graduated from the two courses within paediatrics we have held so far.”

Why is BioGaia taking this initiative?
“The main aim is to raise awareness and knowledge of probiotics and their positive effects in a range of different areas where BioGaia has a strong scientific base. Hopefully, the training will also promote networking and communication among the participants and hence create more ambassadors for probiotics.”

What are the future plans?
“In addition to the partner programme in paediatrics which will be launched soon and the training for dentists, we also plan to integrate our internal training with the BioGaia Academy platform. We also want to develop an additional course for partners within oral health. In the longer term we are also evaluating the possibility to develop a programme in the area of healthy aging. We are also discussing developing courses for consumers. There is a considerable need for education and knowledge in all target groups and since probiotic research is literally exploding, we believe that this demand will increase further in the future.”

The participants’ knowledge level improved considerably during the first training programme that BioGaia Academy carried out. This indicates that there is still a lot to do.

FLAVIA INDRIO

Why have you become involved with BioGaia Academy?
Because I think that continual medical further education is very important. Creating networks of researchers and people who are interested in a specific area contributes to valuable skills.

What is your role in BioGaia Academy?
I am one of the researchers involved in designing the training and I am also a speaker and expert.

Knowledge of probiotics has improved significantly in recent years. Is there still a need to educate doctors about this?
The participants’ knowledge level improved considerably during the first training programme that BioGaia Academy carried out. This indicates that there is still a lot to do.

Flavia Indrio, Senior Consultant Neonatologist Paediatric Gastroenterologist, Department of Paediatrics, University of Bari, Italy

Academy_Flavia_Indrio(938)

BioGaia Academy was a fantastic experience for me and I am grateful that I was given the possibility to participate. I got a chance to network with colleagues from other parts of the world, I learnt a lot about the microbiome, and I even got an idea for a study which I hope to carry out soon. The medical experts were very knowledgeable and the group discussions extremely rewarding.

Unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions, the second meeting and examination were held digitally but this was of course necessary due to the pandemic that the world is experiencing.

I can recommend paediatricians who are interested in learning more about the microbiome to take this course.

Academy_Waceke

Waceke Kombe, Senior Consultant Paediatrician and Gastroenterologist, Department of Paediatrics. Aga Khan University Hospital of Nairobi, Kenya

Academy_Alexis

Dr Alexis Mosca, Paediatric Specialist in Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Paediatric Nutrition and Gastroenterology Department, APHP Robert Debré Teaching Hospital, Prof. HUGOT, Paris, France

BioGaia Academy was a unique opportunity for me to meet colleagues from around the world to discuss how we work in paediatric gastroenterology, focusing on the use of probiotics.

The programme was extremely interesting and varied and included both lectures and workshops as well as social events.

I found the workshops especially valuable. The training improved my knowledge of the microbiota and probiotics but I also gained valuable knowledge of clinical practice from colleagues from around the world.

NEWS FROM THE RESEARCH FRONT

BioGaia Protectis reduces abdominal pain in children

Since the primary outcome was not achieved, we cannot draw any firm conclusions from our meta-analysis. But despite this we can conclude that L. reuteri DSM 17938 can be effective in reducing pain intensity and increasing the number of days without pain in children suffering from functional abdominal pain

Iva Hojsak, Children’s Hospital, Zagreb, Croatia
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BioGaia Protectis reduces abdominal pain in children

A systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that L. reuteri Protectis was the only probiotic to show reduced pain and more pain-free days compared to a placebo in children with functional abdominal pain (FAP).

Despite functional abdominal pain being a common gut problem, there is still no adequate treatment. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was therefore to evaluate the efficacy of strain-specific probiotics on functional abdominal pain in children.

The meta-analysis included nine studies of which six used L. reuteri DSM 17938 and three L. rhamnosus GG (LGG). The primary outcome, number of symptom-free children at the end of the intervention was not achieved, however.

Since the primary outcome was not achieved, we cannot draw any firm conclusions from our meta-analysis. But despite this we can conclude that L. reuteri DSM 17938 can be effective in reducing pain intensity and increasing the number of days without pain in children suffering from functional abdominal pain.

Iva Hojsak, Principal Investigator, Assistant Professor, Children’s Hospital, Zagreb, Croatia

The meta-analysis showed no significant advantages of LGG supplement compared with a placebo in children suffering from functional abdominal pain.

The systematic review and meta-analysis were published online on 17 September 2020 in European Journal of Pediatrics.

BioGaia Prodentis reduces bleeding of the gums

A supplement of L. reuteri lozenges is an efficacious and easily implementable measure to maintain or improve periodontal health in medically healthy persons with limited access to personal oral hygiene

Department of Periodontology, University Hospital Würzburg, Germany
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BioGaia Prodentis reduces bleeding of the gums

A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on healthy sailors showed that a supplement of L. reuteri Prodentis significantly reduced bleeding of the gums compared with a placebo.

“A supplement of L. reuteri lozenges is an efficacious and easily implementable measure to maintain or improve periodontal health in medically healthy persons with limited access to personal oral hygiene,” says the study’s Principal Investigator Professor Ulrich Schlagenhauf, Department of Periodontology, University Hospital Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.

Study design
72 healthy sailors were randomised to either two lozenges daily (4×108 CFU/day) of L. reuteri Prodentis (L. reuteri ATCC PTA 5289 and L. reuteri DSM 17938) or a corresponding placebo for 42 days. The study was carried out while the sailors were participating in a six-week military exercise at sea. The sailors did not receive professional oral cleaning or any oral hygiene instruction.

The primary outcome of the study was bleeding on probing, but plaque, probing pocket depth and other parameters were also measured.

Less bleeding with L. reuteri Prodentis
The group which received probiotics showed a significant improvement in all parameters compared with the start of the study and with the placebo group on both day 14 and day 42. In the placebo group all parameters were significantly worse at the end of the study.

The study was published online on 26 February 2020 in Journal of Periodontology.

Based on our study result we can conclude that supplementing with L. reuteri provides a new alternative for preventing and treating individuals with gingivitis

Professor Ulrich Schlagenhauf, Principal Investigator, Department of Periodontology, University Hospital Würzburg, Germany

New key milestone for MetaboGen

BioGaia’s subsidiary MetaboGen works with developing the next generation of probiotic products. The focus is on metabolic conditions, primarily diabetes and related illnesses.

Following positive results from the initial clinical study of the strains Faecalibacterium prausnitzii (DSM 32379) and Desulfovibrio piger (DSM 32187), MetaboGen has now received approval from the ethics committee to start its next clinical study. The study will include people with prediabetes and is planned to start during 2021.

MetaboGen has studied women with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy

Together with pharmaceutical company Ferring Pharmaceuticals, BioGaia’s subsidiary MetaboGen has carried out a study on women with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), a condition that annually affects around 400,000 women worldwide.

The study, which is explorative, was carried out in collaboration with Kvinnokliniken in Lund and Södersjukhuset in Stockholm and included 100 women. The results will be presented in 2021.

LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS – EQUALLY IMPORTANT IN A DIGITAL CONTEXT

Many of our consumers are aware and seek information themselves before buying their product.

URBAN STRINDLÖV, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT SALES
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LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS – EQUALLY IMPORTANT IN A DIGITAL CONTEXT

2020 was a challenging year in many ways. For BioGaia two clear trends can be identified, according to Urban Strindlöv, Executive Vice President Sales at BioGaia.

“Markets with a tradition of working with medical marketing and where sales mainly take place in physical pharmacies, have been hard hit by lockdowns. On the other hand we can see increased sales in markets with a clear omnichannel structure. In the USA and China, for example, we can see sharply increased growth based on the fact that our products are found where the consumer is found – online. Many of our consumers are aware and seek information themselves before buying their product. And to an increasing extent both these actions – searching for information and purchasing – take place online.”

At the same time Urban thinks that it is important to stress that BioGaia’s foundation is well-studied products with documented health benefits. There is therefore no contradiction between working with medical marketing, where the products’ scientific documentation is marketed to doctors, and being listed on Amazon.

“Our distributor in the USA assesses that a large part of online sales is driven by doctors’ recommendations, which underlines the need for a strong omnichannel strategy where the role of doctors continues to be highly significant.”

BioGaia’s sales department is organised in three regions, EMEA, APAC and Americas which are led by regional managers. Urban is head of the department.

“As well as regional managers, each region has key account managers. These work closely with our partners. Several of them also originate from and live in one of the countries in their region,” explains Urban.

“We try to find local people who are well-familiar with the market, at least in their home country and preferably several countries in the region. It is a big advantage, for example, to speak the language and be comfortable with the culture of a region. At the same time it is critical that everybody in the team understands the company BioGaia and our values, ethics and morals,” he concludes.

Many of our consumers are aware and seek information themselves before buying their product.

URBAN STRINDLÖV, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT SALES

Sales by geographical market, SEKm

Through a focus on Protectis tablets with vitamin D, good stock levels and high involvement of midwives, PediAct saw a positive sales development in 2020 compared to 2019.

ANA PÉREZ SANZ, VICE PRESIDENT EMEA

Ingrid Messerer
Key Account Manager Northern Europe

Born in Germany, lives in Stockholm, Sweden

As part of the strategy to build a strong consumer brand, at the end of the year we launched BioGaia Osfortis and BioGaia Prodentis under our own brand in Sweden.

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Belgium has a strict regulatory system for probiotics and BioGaia’s partner, EG, had therefore already long before the pandemic, positioned Protectis products for the immune system by using health claims for vitamin D in their consumer marketing. This contributed to good sales development in 2020.

“EG has succeeded well in establishing the brand with Belgian consumers. In December they launched a major marketing campaign with TV commercials and a significant focus on social media. The strategy is to invest even more in consumer-targeted marketing in the future,” says Ingrid Messerer, Key Account Manager Northern Europe.

In France, BioGaia’s partner PediAct has an established omnichannel strategy. The main target groups are doctors, midwives, pharmacists and recent parents. Since pharmacies have remained open during the pandemic, PediAct has been able to take advantage of its well-established pharmacy network. Doctors and midwives have also continued to recommend BioGaia’s drops, mainly on digital channels such as webinars, on websites for parents and through influencers.

“Through a focus on Protectis tablets with vitamin D, good stock levels and high involvement of midwives, PediAct saw a positive sales development in 2020 compared to 2019,” says Ana Pérez Sanz, Vice President EMEA. “A successful launch of BioGaia Gastrus in October also contributed to the good result.”

Ingrid Messerer
Key Account Manager Northern Europe

Born in Germany, lives in Stockholm, Sweden

In Germany, the main focus is on paediatric health but the strategy is to broaden both the portfolio and target group. Last year, BioGaia’s partner InfectoPharm succeeded in strengthening their already good position with midwives despite the pandemic. Furthermore they carried out several successful campaigns targeting pharmacists.

“Thanks to InfectoPharm’s long-standing and close collaboration with midwives and pharmacists, sales to consumers were not significantly affected. From BioGaia’s perspective we saw positive sales development during 2020 compared to 2019,” says Ingrid. “By launching more products and taking market shares we expect continued positive growth in Germany in the near future.”

“As part of the strategy to build a strong consumer brand, at the end of the year we launched BioGaia Osfortis and BioGaia Prodentis under our own brand in Sweden. As a result the entire adult portfolio is available under our brand here, for the time being only through the online pharmacies apotea.se and MEDS.se, but in the future also in several of the major pharmacy chains both in their physical stores and online. As in many other markets, online retail has accelerated fast in Sweden and we will focus mainly on these digital channels. This initiative complements our long-term and successful collaboration with Semper on the paediatric side,” concludes Ingrid.

BioGaia Osfortis was launched in Sweden in 2020

Kim Prinsloo
Key Account Manager Africa

Born in South Africa, lives in Port Elisabeth, South Africa

South Africa is BioGaia’s most important market in Africa – and one of our ten top markets globally – and the loss of sales therefore had a significant impact on us. Despite the country being back on partial lockdown, Ascendis’s sales are now on the right track.

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South Africa went into lockdown in March 2020 and the entire economy, including the probiotics sector, was hard hit. As a result, sales by BioGaia’s partner Ascendis fell sharply during the second quarter.

Since then they have been working actively to get sales going again, among other things through new marketing strategies in combination with online training and webinars.

“South Africa is BioGaia’s most important market in Africa – and one of our ten top markets globally – and the loss of sales therefore had a significant impact on us. Despite the country being back on partial lockdown, Ascendis’s sales are now on the right track,” says Kim Prinsloo, Key Account Manager Africa.

“Kenya and Ghana, two of BioGaia’s newer markets, were also hit hard by lockdown. Nevertheless during the year we succeeded in launching both Protectis drops with vitamin D and Gastrus in Kenya. The team at Phillips Pharma worked hard to keep sales going and in September sales to consumers rose again,” concludes Kim.

Kim Prinsloo
Key Account Manager Africa

Born in South Africa, lives in Port Elisabeth, South Africa

Protectis drops with vitamin D were launched in Kenya in 2020

Protectis drops with vitamin D were launched in Kenya in 2020

Among the six largest probiotic brands, BioGaia’s products were the only ones to increase sales in 2020 (in Brazil).

CRISTIÁN CONTRERAS R-T, VICE PRESIDENT LATIN AMERICA

Iván García
Regional Director Latin America

Born in Mexico, lives in Miami, USA

Together with our LatAm partners we arranged presentation training for doctors, made 14 digital launches and held over 50 webinars during the year. BioGaia Protectis with vitamin D is now available in nearly all markets.

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Sales of probiotics fell slightly in 2020 mainly due to Covid-19. Latin America is one of the regions in the world where medical marketing is most established but due to the pandemic only 30-40% of face-to-face meetings with doctors could be held.

The five largest countries in Latin America were in the pandemic’s global top-ten list for most of 2020 with lockdowns and extensive restrictions.

BioGaia’s sales in Latin America moved up from third place among probiotic companies to second place. There was a double-digit increase in sales mainly due to new launches and intensified online activities. BioGaia also launched products in two new markets: Ecuador (the third largest probiotics market in Latin America) and Uruguay. We also launched Protectis drops with vitamin D and BioGaia Gastrus in many countries.

Iván García
Regional Director i Latin America

Born in Mexico, lives in Miami, USA

0 new digital launches
0 webinars

“Together with our LatAm partners we arranged presentation training for doctors, made 14 digital launches and held over 50 webinars during the year. BioGaia Protectis with vitamin D is now available in nearly all markets, for example,” says Iván García, Regional Director Latin America. “Another very satisfying milestone was the registration of our vitamin D drops in Argentina. We look forward to launching our products with our new partner Ethical Nutrition.”

BioGaia’s partners also increased their investments in social media in many markets, such as Chile and Mexico. To support and complement their digital strategy, BioGaia launched its website in Spanish in the middle of 2020.

“Probiotic sales fell in Brazil, the largest probiotics market in Latin America, but BioGaia’s sales rose thanks to our partner’s Aché’s swift digital transition and major investments,” declares Cristián Contreras R-T, Vice President Latin America. Among the six largest probiotic brands, BioGaia’s products were the only ones with increased sales in 2020. “We expanded the Protectis portfolio by launching drops in a 10ml package which made a strong contribution to growth,” concludes Cristián.

Mexico is Latin America’s second-largest probiotics market and was the only one that grew in 2020. BioGaia’s sales rose more than the market mainly due to good sales of Protectis drops and the successful launch of Prodentis / ProD by our new partner Laboratorios Grisi.

Joakim Annwall
Regional Director BioGaia Biologics Inc.

Born in Sweden, lives in Miami, USA

The business model of our partner Everidis, which focuses on online rather than traditional pharmacy sales, has proved both reliable and highly successful during the pandemic.

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The USA was hard hit by Covid-19. Such comprehensive changes in American society have not been seen since the second world war. All states have been affected differently but a common factor is that online shopping has beaten all previous records. 2020 was a record year for BioGaia, the best ever in the USA and Canada. Product sales under the BioGaia brand grew at record speed, especially in the USA.

“The business model of our partner Everidis, which focuses on online rather than traditional pharmacy sales, has proved both reliable and highly successful during the pandemic,” says Joakim Annwall, Regional Director BioGaia Biologics Inc. in North America. “Our American consumers have switched from physical pharmacies to online stores. This move started before the pandemic but has accelerated as a result of the restrictions.”

Everidis has an established omnichannel strategy. Marketing to consumers is almost exclusively digital on Amazon and other online retail platforms as well as on social media. Doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals are targeted by medical marketing.

The year saw the launch of BioGaia Prodentis Kids, an oral health product for children aged three and above. Reception especially from paediatricians has been very positive. They see Prodentis Kids as a valuable supplement for children with caries, for example.

Joakim Annwall
Regional Director BioGaia Biologics Inc.

Born in Sweden, lives in Miami, USA

For Everidis the launch is a way of broadening the portfolio towards an established target group. Prodentis lozenges for adults were launched in 2019. Both oral health products have shown good sales development in the past year, Everidis expects continued positive development in 2021.

In spring 2021 three completely new products will be launched within the immune area, for infants, older children and adults. “We see significant growth in the immune market in the USA and therefore great potential for BioGaia with these products,” concludes Joakim.

As in so many other countries, Japanese society in its entirety was in lockdown for long periods in 2020. Since our sales mainly take place in dental clinics, and these were closed, we had to adapt quickly and move physical meetings to digital channels.

JONAS WEIMER, VICE PRESIDENT APAC

Hok Ting Yau
Regional Manager and Office Head APAC

Born in Hong Kong, lives in Stockholm, Sweden, and in Singapore

Together with our partners in China we continue to work on strengthening our digital presence,” says Ting. “We are also planning to extend the portfolio by launching more products. BioGaia’s strategy for remaining competitive is our unique combination of leading-edge skills and the omnichannel strategy.

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2020 was definitely a challenging year since Asia was the first region to be hit by Covid-19. Already at the start of the year Asian countries locked down. In many of BioGaia’s key markets, such as Japan, China, Singapore and Korea, all medical congresses and seminars were cancelled and sales in physical channels drastically reduced.

“At the same time consumers who were forced to stay at home accelerated the development of online shopping, something we tried to take advantage of,” says Hok Ting Yau, Regional Manager and Office Head APAC. “In order to adapt and facilitate our customer meetings, we started early in the APAC region to change our physical communication channels to digital ones. We arranged medical webinars and created digital marketing material for our partners.”

China is BioGaia’s most important market in Asia. There is considerable awareness among consumers about probiotics and their health benefits. Probiotics are primarily sold online. China was the first country to be hit by Covid-19 and the market responded, especially in the first half. In that period there were almost no meetings with doctors or other healthcare professionals and sales in physical pharmacies almost totally disappeared. However, the sharp rise in online shopping compensated for this loss.

Hok Ting Yau
Regional Manager
and Office Head APAC

Born in Hong Kong, lives in Stockholm, Sweden, and in Singapore

“Together with our partners in China we continue to work on strengthening our digital presence,” says Ting. “We are also planning to extend the portfolio by launching more products. BioGaia’s strategy for remaining competitive is our unique combination of leading-edge skills and the omnichannel strategy.”

Another extremely important market is Japan where BioGaia has had a subsidiary since 2006. BioGaia Japan works primarily with dental clinics and has developed a unique concept that does not focus solely on oral health but includes all BioGaia’s products. Dentists are trained by BioGaia and include BioGaia’s products in the treatment of their patients.

“As in so many other countries, Japanese society in its entirety was in lockdown for long periods in 2020. Since our sales mainly take place in dental clinics, and these were closed, we had to adapt quickly and move physical meetings to digital channels,” says Jonas Weimer, Vice President APAC.

“Despite the circumstances we launched some ten products in 2020 through our partners in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Indonesia. We also arranged our first digital workshop for partners to celebrate BioGaia’s 30th anniversary. Of course, this cannot be compared with a face-to-face meeting but it was still fantastic to ‘meet’ all our partners and celebrate this special occasion,” concludes Ting.

Tunç Kurtoğlu
Key Account Manager Turkey, Israel, North Africa and Middle East

Born in Turkey, lives in Stockholm, Sweden

Our partner Eczacibasi plans to launch BioGaia Gastrus and Prodentis during 2021 and with the broader portfolio we expect increased sales in Turkey in 2021.

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2020 was a tough year in Turkey and the Middle East. Turkey, BioGaia’s most established and largest market in the region, was hit by lockdowns and restrictions and the entire pharmaceutical and food supplement market suffered.

“Online sales of medicines and food supplements are not established in Turkey. Here BioGaia’s drops are primarily recommended by doctors. This meant that our sales fell during the first half. At the end of the year, however, we could see a recovery and we are proud to have retained our market-leading position for drops despite intense competition from many strong international brands,” says Tunc Kurtoglu, Key Account Manager Turkey, Israel, North Africa and Middle East. “Our partner Eczacibasi plans to launch BioGaia Gastrus and Prodentis during 2021 and with the broader portfolio we expect increased sales in Turkey in 2021.”

“Our partner in Israel, Pharmabest, was quick to establish online retail channels for the products. This strategy proved successful and at the end of 2020, following tough restrictions that affected sales, these started to rise again. Currently Protectis drops and tablets are the only products in Israel but Pharmabest plans to launch more products during 2021 which we hope will contribute to a further rise in sales.”

Tunç Kurtoğlu
Key Account Manager Turkey, Israel, North Africa and Middle East

Born in Turkey, lives in Stockholm, Sweden

In the Middle Eastern markets BioGaia’s products compete in pharmacies with cheap probiotic products. The lack of digital sales channels also contributes to the difficulty of establishing and increasing business in this region. A new strategy is planned for 2021 which hopefully will contribute to positive development.

RESPONSIBILITY AND CONTRIBUTION TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Four focus areas for sustainability

BioGaia looks beyond the direct health benefits of the products and includes the company’s impact on the health of society as a whole and the health of our planet.

The UN’s sustainable development goal ‘Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages’ is the basis of BioGaia’s business. But sustainability work also includes action to reduce environmental impact and ensure an ethical approach and behaviour in everything the company does.

To ensure that sustainability initiatives remain relevant and focused in those areas where BioGaia can make the most difference, a continuous dialogue is held with stakeholders about these issues. During the year, the company’s sustainability strategy has been further developed and key steps were taken for increased sustainability work.

Greenhouse gas
reporting developed
and updated for 2020

100% renewable
electricity for all the
Group’s operations
in Sweden

A target is set to reduce
emissions from travel
by 30% with 2019
as base year

Everyone in the
BioGaia Group
attended training
in anti-corruption

New life-cycle assessment and
life-cycle tool to calculate
environmental impacts
from products

Whistleblower service
implemented

SEK 3.7 million
to community
involvement

New more sustainable products launched – vegan capsules, tablets and drops without palm oil and free from milk protein, gluten and lactose

Internal
Code of Conduct
implemented

BioGaia climate compensates
for its emissions for
both 2019 and 2020

BioGaia now reports
in accordance with the
GRI Standards: core option

Healthy products

It is fundamental that the products are safe and meet consumers’ expectations. Quality is a key factor, from ensuring that research on product benefits is reliable to guaranteeing that the product retains its high quality when it reaches consumers.

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Healthy products

It is fundamental that the products are safe and meet consumers’ expectations. Quality is a key factor, from ensuring that research on product benefits is reliable to guaranteeing that the product retains its high quality when it reaches consumers.

One of BioGaia’s key strengths is the large number of well-executed independent clinical studies on the products. BioGaia’s probiotic strain, L. reuteri DSM 17938, is the world’s most scientifically-studied probiotic bacterium that remains patented.

Providing transparent information on research strengthens stakeholder confidence and ensures that consumers receive safe products with the benefits they require.

BioGaia applies the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) criteria for probiotic products, including how these should be labelled.

BioGaia checks every single batch that is produced against the applicable requirements. BioGaia also monitors contract manufacturers’ compliance with the applicable quality requirements through documented reviews and periodic audits. BioGaia has never needed to recall products already distributed to consumers. The company’s quality work also aims to identify potential improvements in documentation and production processes. For example, during 2020 the Protectis portfolio was declared allergen-free and work is ongoing so that this can apply to the remaining product families.

A new life-cycle assessment was carried out during 2020, covering both packaging and the ingredients used in the products. This will enable BioGaia to better understand the company’s environmental impact. A tool has also been developed that allows these results to be integrated into the product development process.

Palm oil is one example of an ingredient that has a significant impact on both people and the environment. At the end of 2020, some 70% (35%) of product formulations were available in variants without palm oil. BioGaia buys credits for the palm oil which is used from RSPO-certified independent smallholders in accordance with RSPO’s Book and Claim system. The aim is to stop selling any products containing palm oil by 2025.

Developing new sustainable packaging remains a priority where the biggest challenge is to find a solution that does not compromise the quality of the bacteria which are extremely sensitive to water and oxygen. A project team has been created to intensify development work during 2021. An increasing use of monomaterial in packaging and consumer communication to increase recyclability rates are examples of small changes introduced during the year to reduce impact.

Strain or strain combination
Published articles
PROTECTIS
L. reuteri DSM 17938
153
PRODENTIS
L. reuteri DSM 17938 & L. reuteri ATCC PTA 5289
53
GASTRUS
L. reuteri DSM 17938 & L. reuteri ATCC PTA 6475
6
OSFORTIS
L. reuteri ATCC PTA 6475
1

A healthy business

BioGaia’s values are the cornerstones of the business and help to ensure that all employees embrace the highest standards in everything the company does. Ensuring good business ethics, taking a clear stand on respect for human rights and accepting responsibility for the environmental impact of the company’s operations are fundamental and highlighted in BioGaia’s Code of Conduct.

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A healthy business

BioGaia’s values are the cornerstones of the business and help to ensure that all employees embrace the highest standards in everything the company does. Ensuring good business ethics, taking a clear stand on respect for human rights and accepting responsibility for the environmental impact of the company’s operations are fundamental and highlighted in BioGaia’s Code of Conduct.

In 2020, all employees were involved in defining the company’s new values and an internal Code of Conduct was implemented. This includes not only the company’s key ethical standards but also sustainability ambitions and commitments. During 2020, 

BioGaia also implemented a whistleblower system and all employees in the Group received anti-corruption training. BioGaia’s ambition for 2021 is to further develop this web-based training. Further steps will be taken to evaluate specific risks in different parts of the business and for different roles in the organisation.

The life-cycle assessment also means that an updated, more comprehensive carbon footprint can be reported. BioGaia compensates for all emissions, but in addition has an ambition to reduce its own impact in the value chain. Action has now been taken against many of the company’s main emission sources. Phasing out palm oil in the products will reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by more than 150 tonnes annually. Work on identifying more sustainable packaging solutions has been intensified and BioGaia has committed to reduce business travel by 30% with 2019 as the base year. Reductions have also been achieved during the year by ensuring that only green energy is used in BioGaia’s offices and production facilities in Sweden.

Healthy networks

BioGaia’s international networks of researchers, suppliers and distributors are key to the business model. A large part of BioGaia’s impact and ability to make a difference comes from being able to influence and collaborate with partners in the value chain.

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Healthy networks

BioGaia’s international networks of researchers, suppliers and distributors are key to the business model. A large part of BioGaia’s impact and ability to make a difference comes from being able to influence and collaborate with partners in the value chain.

BioGaia works with external suppliers for production, packaging, culture manufacture and analysis services in Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Spain and the USA. Sustainability aspects such as quality, safety and environmental impact are followed up through periodic audits and are also handled in the ongoing dialogue.

Having long-standing close relationships with a relatively small number of suppliers enables greater insight which reduces sustainability risks in BioGaia’s value chain. It also promotes opportunities for collaboration on improvements. In the process of carrying out the life-cycle assessment, a number of opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were identified. These will be investigated further in 2021.

BioGaia’s distributors are key players in ensuring that the company’s products comply with legislation and regulations in their respective markets and that they are distributed and marketed responsibly and in line with BioGaia’s values. In 2020, BioGaia developed a process for further evaluating new distributors’ sustainability performance.

A Supplier Code of Conduct specifies BioGaia’s minimum requirements within areas such as human rights, working conditions, environment, business ethics and anti-corruption. At the end of 2020 all (100%) prioritised suppliers had signed the Code of Conduct. A similar Code of Conduct for distribution partners was introduced in 2018 and at the end of 2020, 90% (85%) had signed this. The ambition is that the remaining distributors will have signed or presented their own equivalent by the end of 2021.

BioGaia has built a unique network of international researchers with whom the company collaborates to conduct research. BioGaia’s policies for ethical research are stipulated in the company’s Code of Conduct and research partners are encouraged to apply the highest ethical standards in all pre-clinical and clinical research. Specific requirements are stipulated in the research contracts. BioGaia encourages transparent results from researchers. The studies must be registered on a public website such as ClinicalTrials.gov prior to study start.

A healthy workplace

BioGaia strives to promote a healthy environment in the workplace to enable the employees to thrive. By engaging and inspiring employees to be the best version of themselves, both employees and the business benefit.

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A healthy workplace

BioGaia strives to promote a healthy environment in the workplace to enable the employees to thrive. By engaging and inspiring employees to be the best version of themselves, both employees and the business benefit.

Culture is a strong motivating factor and lies at the heart of what drives the business. At BioGaia this is summarised as ‘Do good and have fun’. During the year BioGaia has invested further in developing this culture and employees across the company have been involved in shaping the definition of BioGaia’s new values. Work on implementing these values continues in 2021.

BioGaia strives to be an attractive workplace for everyone. An organisation that is characterised by diversity and inclusion not only reflects values but is also vital for commercial success. In 2020, BioGaia was one of 65 (out of 335) companies listed as green by the Albright Foundation, which rates Swedish listed companies based on equality in the management team.

BioGaia has a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination. Regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or religious beliefs everyone must be treated with the same respect and dignity. During the year, a new policy and diversity plan for 2020 to 2023 was introduced as well as a new action plan covering discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

BioGaia shall also offer all its employees good development opportunities. The company has a tool for structured performance reviews, which is also used to ensure the quality of follow-up. Carrying out these reviews is a key component in ensuring that employees perceive that their efforts are appreciated and that they develop. In 2020, 84% (81%) of employees had such a review with their immediate manager.

In line with BioGaia’s strategy, a leadership development programme was started in 2020. Physical meetings are key for the successful implementation of cultural changes which meant that part of the programme had to be postponed due to the pandemic. 2020 was therefore focused on those modules that could be managed in a digital environment and the aim is to continue this work in 2021.

Community involvement

During 2020 BioGaia invested SEK 3.7 million to support organisations that work with health-promoting activities in areas that are linked to BioGaia’s business.

BioGaia continues to support the Foundation to Prevent Antibiotic Resistance (PAR), The Children’s Mission in the Philippines and Dr Denis Mukwege’s vital work at the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since 2013, BioGaia has offset climate emissions, since 2020 by supporting Burn Manufacturing. An improved reporting function for carbon footprint in 2020 means that the company could not only compensate for emissions in 2019 but also for 2020 with a total of SEK 322,000.

childrens-missions3
Dr-Denis-Mukwege