Nelson-based company Supreme Biotechnologies, which makes the highly potent antioxidant AstaSupreme™ astaxanthin, has received a new investment that will allow its astaxanthin production capacity to double.
Supreme Biotechnologies set up in Nelson four years ago and undertook two years of R&D before establishing its pilot astaxanthin plant in March 2010. After two years of operation the pilot plant has been fine-tuned and a solid sales pipeline established, with the company now raising a further $1.4 million of private equity investment, securing its ongoing commercial operation.
Chief Executive Tony Dowd says the new funds will be spent on extending production capacity to meet worldwide demand for New Zealand-made natural astaxanthin. He says he is also currently in discussions with other potential investors regarding an additional NZ$5 million worth of investment, to further expand production.
“Global knowledge of natural astaxanthin’s wide range of benefits is growing,” Dowd says. “People around the world are becoming more educated about astaxanthin’s abilities to help support joint and muscle health, and help faster recovery from exercise. This consumer understanding, as well as New Zealand’s reputation for clean, respected products, has led to increased demand for our Nelson-produced astaxanthin.
“We are experiencing increasing demand for our astaxanthin ingredient products from our customers in Europe, America, South East Asia and New Zealand, at a level that is 20 times our current production capacity. Additionally, sales of our own astaxanthin product range, branded AstaSupreme™, are growing significantly through selected health food stores, such as Health 2000, and pharmacies in New Zealand and the UK.
“We need to increase production quickly, so we will use the investment funds to introduce new technology that we have been fine-tuning over the last 12-months, to increase our overall production yield by an estimated 300-400%,” he says. “We are now a true commercial operation, with both our domestic and international customer bases rapidly expanding. This new financial injection is very timely, and will allow us to keep up with demand, as word continues to spread.”
Last year, Supreme Biotechnologies increased staff numbers in the Nelson astaxanthin plant by four people to a total of 10 employees, and Dowd says the new investment will likely mean another increase. He adds that New Zealand suppliers will also benefit from the new investment, with around $300k-400k expected to be spent on existing partnerships.