Holista Biotech optimistic on RM20m sales this year

By Presenna Nambiar


HOLISTA Biotech Sdn Bhd, a local biotechnology company, expects to
register about RM20 million in sales this year, driven by its existing
range of products.

“Holista Colltech Australia Ltd is not yet in a place to give so
significant a revenue boost to the group. (But) next year (its
contribution) should be more,” Holista Colltech chief executive officer
Datuk Dr M. Rajen told Business Times recently.

Holista Colltech is the product of a reverse takeover exercise on
Colltech Australia Ltd by Holista Biotech, which was initiated last
year. Colltech holds the patent for the process of extracting collagen
from sheepskin.

The deal, which was worth A$10 million (RM30 million), was completed on July 13 2009.

“The important thing to remember is that we were already in the
collagen business before Colltech, through one of our products called
Bonex, which was quite successful in the market,” Rajen said.

There were, however, two issues concerning the product, which had
prompted Holista Biotech to shop around for alternative collagen

Firstly, the collagen it was using was from bovine (cow), which
was not culturally accepted by certain religions and also the question
of whether the bovine used was halal or not.

“While we had obtained a halal certification from Germany, one of
the few places providing the certification, there were still doubts,”
Rajen said.

Holista Colltech managed to raise some A$2.5 million (RM7.5
million) in a private placement to investors in Malaysia, Australia,
Thailand and Singapore last week, despite having to contend with a
lacklustre market.

“The current economic climate is tough, but we were enthused by
the reception for the private placement, and we could have raised more
money but decided to close the placement as we had raised the amount we
needed,” Rajen said.

The private placement was to raise money to expand its existing production capability and develop more new technologies.

Rajen said while there would be more need for funds in the future, it would not need to raise any more this year.

On the development of its collagen products, Rajen said the
company would be focusing on rolling out its food-based collagen
products first, due to its shorter turnaround time and the bigger
market for the products.

“The development of collagen products for the medical and
cosmetics industries will take a fair amount of time. Therefore, we are
currently focusing on the production of food-based collagen such as
collagen drinks,” Rajen said.