The strength and success of any research-driven organization is its potential to constantly innovate. It is essential that emphasis is placed on the development of new products which either serve as quality ingredients to incorporate in finished formulations, or the finished formulations themselves, with demonstrated safety and efficacy.
This requires the working together of a number of dedicated teams toward developing newer ideas and concepts. This would in turn lead to the generation of patents, awards and visibility creating brand awareness and recognition in the market. Selected core departments that could contribute to this success and the roles they play in an organization focused on botanically-derived products are outlined below.
Phytochemistry: This division plays a crucial role with respect to new product development at the ingredient level. Standardized phytoextracts that function as nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals or nutricosmetics need to be skillfully developed and commercialized to meet diverse and ever changing global needs. Keeping in mind permitted solvents as per regulatory guidelines across the globe, solvent extracts of specific identified plant parts need to be appropriately standardized. In-depth knowledge about the chemistry of identified bioactive molecules is a critical step during product development. Further, it is important to establish a characterized extract that provides maximum efficacy along with safety.
A case study illustration of this is Sabinsa’s development of a standardized extract from the fruits of Emblica officinalis. Conventionally, amla extracts have been mainly promoted in and as a dietary supplement rich in ascorbic acid or with vitamin C as the biomarker. The Sabinsa research team found that amla does not contain ascorbic acid in consistent amounts, and sometimes only in trace quantities. The team Isolated, characterized and commercialized the first correctly standardized extract of the amla fruits, SaberryÒ—the result of efforts to prepare an authenticated amla extract, standardized using a valid biomarker, b-glucogallin. In view of the potential benefits of SaberryÒ it finds useful applications as a neutraceutical, cosmeceutical and nutricosmetic ingredient.
Analytical R&D: Great ideas and innovative concepts require the concrete backing of state-of-the-art instrumentation to validate the chemical composition that characterizes an extract. This may be done using an array of modern techniques such as HPLC, GC, LC-MS, HP-TLC, GC-MS, NMR, ICP-OES, AAS and other chemical analysis methods to meet international standards.
Bio-Research Division: New products require the establishment of both safety and efficacy before their launch in the market and incorporation into finished formulations. This focuses on developing the safety and efficacy profile of the products by screening through an elaborate series of in vitro methods that does not involve testing on animals. The research done by this team can often be utilized in published studies supporting the product, as well as achieving useful designations such as GRAS status, which open doors for applications not otherwise available.
Formulations R&D: It is the formulations R&D division that forms the convergence of the various product concepts that have been developed as ingredients. The three major functional areas in the supplement industry they examine for potential applications of a new product include:
- Nutraceutical and nutricosmetic formulations;
- Cosmetic and personal care formulations; and
- Functional food and beverage formulations.
The core activity of this division would involve the development of a number of solid, liquid and semisolid dosage forms, dietary supplements, personal care, cosmetics and functional food concepts. Ready-to-use, consumer friendly products from this research team deliver safe and effective products to improve health and wellness in every home.
Marketing: Input from the marketing team is sometimes overlooked, but should not be. This team’s involvement in the process can provide researchers with feedback on where consumer demand is most likely to be found, as well as what kind of information will be most useful in supporting product sales within legal regulatory guidelines. Their awareness of new products coming into the pipeline early in the process also aids them in doing a more comprehensive job of launching the product when it becomes available.
Shaheen Majeed, marketing director for Sabinsa Corp., knows Sabinsa from the ground up. When he was just 17 years old, Shaheen began in the warehouse of the science-based ingredients company his father founded in 1988. Subsequent positions included customer service, a variety of sales positions, representing the company's substantial portfolio of proprietary nutritional and cosmeceutical ingredients, managing contract manufacturing, cosmetic marketing manager and executive assistant to the CEO. He is spearheading the company’s expansion of its functional foods offerings, while being actively involved in Sabinsa's cultivation program, interacting with farmers to ensure sustainability of quality raw materials from which Sabinsa manufacturers the company’s proprietary ingredients.