Lakeview Equity Partners LLC has acquired UAS Laboratories Inc., a pioneer in the research, development and manufacture of probiotic nutritional supplements. Dr. S.K. Dash founded UAS Labs in 1979 to manufacture and market probiotics in the U.S., Canada and more than 60 other countries worldwide. He will remain with the company as chairman, founder and director of new business development.
Two probiotic pros are also stepping to the plate as partners in the transaction. Kevin Mehring will serve as the new President of UAS Labs, and Dr. Greg Leyer as chief scientific officer. Both are industry veterans with deep roots in the probiotic arena.
Most recently, Mehring was the director of sales—dietary supplements/pharma—Americas for DuPont Nutrition & Health, formerly Danisco. His focus globally has been on probiotics over the past five-and-a-half years. "I've known and respected Dr. Dash since I entered this industry, and I saw the opportunity to connect him with Lakeview Equity, who has a very successful track record taking companies of UAS' size to higher levels," Mehring said in an interview.
Also coming from DuPont, Dr. Leyer has more than 19 years of accomplished probiotic research experience, holding a variety of product development, laboratory management, global technical director and global business development roles with Abbott Nutrition, Rhodia Food and Danisco USA Inc. "The opportunity to build upon a great legacy brand with a firm dedication to research, development and clinical science is very exciting to me, and one in which our customer base will benefit greatly with new innovative and efficacious products," remarked Dr. Leyer in a statement from the company.
Carrying the legacy
Seeing this as a great opportunity to bring Dr. Dash's vision to new heights, Mehring explains that education will be an important component of the future. And while the company will launch new products, its mission and passion will remain in the realm of probiotics.
With plans to expand science around digestive and immune health, Mehring says that most products are based on the well-documented DDS1 strain of L. acidophilus, adding that strain-specific formulations targeted at particular health conditions are the future of probiotics.
In addition to its probiotic prowess, another important point of differentiation for UAS Labs—now and going forward—is its commitment and exclusivity to natural retailers. "The focus will be the natural channel from a sales standpoint," reports Mehring. "Natural products consumers are the type of consumer we like to deal with on the basis of our background. The temptation of many companies after these kinds of acquisitions is immediately to jump to the food, drug and mass channel. But we're going to stay committed to natural retail," he asserts, quelling any fears that might be looming in light of other recent industry acquisitions.
While nurturing that retail community, the company will also continue to focus on research and development—a cornerstone at UAS since the beginning. "It is an honor to advance this mission as we stay committed to offering industry leading educational tools and marketing support to the health food natural retailer."