On Tuesday, Oct. 4, Thorne Research, a leading marketer and manufacturer in the practitioner supplement space, announced a strategic partnership with botanical ingredients supplier Indena. Indena, based in Milan, with U.S. headquarters in Seattle, will provide exclusivity on existing products, collaborate in developing new products, and offer research and product information for Thorne’s new IT healthcare portal, Healthelements.com.
Indena’s parent company, Idb Holding, has also made a minority investment in Thorne for an undisclosed amount. Also of note, earlier this year, Helsinn Group, a Swiss pharmaceutical company, received a small stake in Thorne in return for co-developing a line of cancer support supplements.
The details are still being ironed out, but Indena will likely provide exclusivity on four or five of its products to go into Thorne’s cancer support line, while another one or two products would go towards a diabetes/blood sugar management line, said Thorne CEO Paul Jacobson in an interview with Nutrition Business Journal.
NBJ Bottom Line
Since Jacobson took the helm of the company in the summer of 2010, Thorne has made many strategic plays—including a partnership with Integrated Health Resources to develop Healthelements.com; the Helsinn deal; acquiring the exclusive rights market the proprietary CoQ10 formulation Q-Best; and now the Indena deal—to move forward on its stated objective of further capturing the MD practitioner market.
“We’re pushing the company towards a model where there is more science and larger companies involved,” Jacobson said. He pointed out that approaching MDs is a different process than for holistic doctors; that you have to come at them with fewer products and more science. “From a scientific standpoint, Indena is the best company at proving the efficacy of its ingredients,” he said.
And in Europe, where herbs and botanicals are better engrained in healthy lifestyles and medicine than in the United States, doctors are more apt to dole out prescription doses of herbal medicine. Indena sits right in the center of that herbal medicine market, so partnering with an MD-focused Thorne makes good business sense.
Thorne’s recent deals also position the company for increased expansion into international markets, though we’ve yet to see any movement on that front.
NBJ anxiously awaits Thorne’s next move, as the company seems to be pushing the supplement market in right direction: leading with quality and partnering across industries to further entrench natural health into mainstream medicine.