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Vitafoods Asia 2022

Nutra meets pharma: A new model in the food-nutrition industry - Interview

Article-Nutra meets pharma: A new model in the food-nutrition industry - Interview

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Looking ahead to Vitafoods Asia 2022, Dilip Ghosh shares insights on the intersection of Nutra-Pharma industries.

Dilip Ghosh, the director at Nutriconnect, will be speaking at Vitafoods Asia 2022 event on 5 October 2022 at 16:00 (Bangkok time) on the topic of 'Nutra meets pharma.' We spoke with Dilip to find out more and what to expect from his presentation. Click here for more information about our Vitafoods Asia 2022 event.

What are the key differences between pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals?

"Medicine or a pharmaceutical product is a substance taken into or placed on the body to treat, cure, or relieve symptoms of illness. Based on the level of control, medicine can be classified as a prescription or over-the-counter drug. In most cases, pharmaceutical is composed of a single purified molecule.

“Nutraceuticals are bioactive substances in common food or botanical-based sources that can be delivered in the dosage format of dietary supplements or functional food to supply beneficial effects. In addition to the essential nutritional components, mainly for the prevention of diseases but in few cases for the cure of diseases, generally, nutraceuticals are a multi-component product."

What societal problems and whitespaces could the current interface between pharma and nutra address?

"It is generally accepted worldwide that modern pharmaceuticals will remain out of reach for many people. ‘Health for all’ may only be materialised using adequately assessed nutraceutical/phytomedicinal products. Humans have been using food bioactive and/or herbal medicine for healing from the beginning of human civilisation.

“The present model of the nutraceutical or medical food industry is pharma-driven, emphasising the cure for diseases or ailments for their customers in the sick care sector. To be successful, the focus of the nutraceutical model will have to shift from illness to wellness, i.e., preventive and promotional aspects. In the nutraceutical domain, peripheral opportunities also exist for managing chronic lifestyle diseases and ailments with the emergence of lifestyle-related diseases such as obesity, tuberculosis, diabetes, arthritis, malaria, and cholera, which can be managed through preventive efforts."

What innovations are you seeing in this market around the APAC region?

"Most innovation and investment in new product development are happening now in the [Asia-Pacific] APAC region by multinationals and regional companies. Several nutraceuticals have been isolated from natural sources using biotechnology and genetic engineering tools that provide pharmaco-economic benefits.

“Many pharma industries worldwide, including Ranbaxy, Pfizer, GSK and Abbott, have taken the initiative of synthesising a range of nutraceutical products for different age consumers. The combination therapy of pharmaceuticals and food bioactive in disease prevention and treatments is one of the most discussed topics recently, especially to reduce the dosage of drug compounds and their toxic effect. A growing number of companies are investing in developing robust evidence-based nutraceutical development, including randomised control trials."

What are the next steps for the ‘pharma to nutra’ transition and vice versa?

"Pharma industries have started looking for alternatives to the blockbuster philosophy, simply diversification, and more investment in nutraceuticals through M&A.

“We have already seen some changes in three interrelated tipping points referring to what the industry sells (service models vs therapies); to whom (mass markets vs niche); and how it should organise itself (making connections vs integration).

“[Also] transitioning from the current 'high-risk, high-margin business model to the 'low-cost, high volume' nutra business model is inevitable."

What can our audience in our Vitafoods Asia 2022 event expect from your session?

"What real challenges both pharma and nutra industries are facing; how evidence-based nutraceuticals model replaces the blockbuster molecule concept; investment and M&A scenarios around the world; and case studies based on real-life scenarios."

About the speaker: Dr Dilip Ghosh, Director of Nutriconnect



Dilip Ghosh is an international speaker, facilitator and author and is professionally associated with many institutions. He is also currently on the content advisory board for Vitafoods Global. Dilip has published more than 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals and numerous articles in food and nutrition magazines and books. His recent two books, "Pharmaceutical to Nutraceutical: A Paradigm shift in disease prevention" & "Natural Medicines-Clinical efficacy, Safety and Quality" under CRC Press, USA, were published. His most recent book, "Nutraceutical in Brain Health & Beyond" and "Fenugreek: Traditional & Modern medicinal uses", were published by Elsevier/Academic Press & CRC Press.