Industry in brief | Alcon, Karo, Venture Life, AFT

Industry in brief | Alcon, Karo, Venture Life, AFT

21 July 2020 - Deborah Wilkes

Alcon is extending its Pataday OTC range in the US, Karo Pharma and Venture Life have released financial results, while AFT Pharmaceuticals is working with RooLife Group to launch an online health and pharmacy store in China.

Alcon adds to Pataday in US

Alcon is set to extend its Pataday range of OTC eye allergy products in the US with Pataday Once Daily Relief Extra Strength (olopatadine 0.7%).

The Swiss-based eyecare specialist said the new addition would be available online in September 2020, ahead of national retail availability in early 2021.

Alcon described Pataday Once Daily Relief Extra Strength, which was formerly prescribed as Pazeo, as the “first and only once daily eye allergy itch drop offering a full 24 hours of relief without a prescription”.

The company said the Pataday product portfolio, which was switched from prescription-to-OTC status in February 2020 (click here to read the News story), was “already the number one eye allergy brand in the US OTC market”.

The Extra Strength product joins Pataday Once Daily Relief containing olopatadine 0.2% and Pataday Twice Daily Relief containing olopatadine 0.1%.

Karo gets a lift from acquisitions

Acquisitions lifted sales at Karo Pharma to SEK689 million (USD77.2 million) in the second quarter of 2020, representing a rise of 78% compared to the same period a year earlier.

The Swedish company said acquisitions had contributed growth of 88%. Karo acquired Trimb Healthcare in 2019 as well as the Proct and Pevaryl portfolios in 2020 (click here to read the News story).

Excluding the impact of portfolio and currency changes, sales were down by 10% on an organic basis.

Chief executive officer Christoffer Lorenzen said Karo’s performance in the second quarter had been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the first quarter of the year, Lorenzen pointed out, Karo had benefited from a “one-off build-up of inventories across the supply chain at wholesaler, pharmacy and consumer level” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This build-up, he added, had been “partially rebalanced” in quarter two, particularly in the Pain, Cough & Cold, and Specialty Rx categories.

Lorenzen said Karo expected to see further rebalancing in the second half of the year but to a lesser extent than during the second quarter.

Karo’s adjusted Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) were up by 55% to SEK214 million in the second quarter of 2020.

In the first half of 2020, around 60% of Karo's sales were generated by OTC drugs, led by Paracet with sales up by 33% to SEK95.1 million.

Venture Life seeking additional acquisitions

Self-care group Venture Life said it continued to explore acquisition opportunities as it reported sales up by 80% to GBP16.9 million (USD21.5 million) in the first half of 2020.

The UK-based company said 65 percentage points of the rise had come from organic growth and 15 percentage points were due to acquired growth.

Chief executive officer Jerry Randall said it was a “remarkable achievement” amidst an extremely challenging backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

AFT works with RooLife in China

AFT Pharmaceuticals is working with RooLife Group to launch a “New Zealand-branded online health and pharmacy store” in China.

Called Kiwi Health, the store on Alibaba’s Tmall platform will be the online marketplace for AFT’s health and wellbeing products in China.

Hartley Atkinson, founder and chief executive officer of New Zealand’s AFT, said his company’s products already had a “strong following” within the Chinese community living in New Zealand.

As well as amplifying AFT’s online presence in China, added Atkinson, a Tmall flagship store represented great potential for future growth of the company’s health and wellbeing portfolio.

Australia’s RooLife has a three-year contract to provide digital marketing, e-commerce operation and sales for AFT in China.

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