Health E-Insights: Discuss your vegan, non-GMO, and allergen free delivery system innovations.
Neveu: Wellomics formulation methods revitalize diverse raw materials (e.g., powders, oils) so they can be presented to the digestive system compatible with the biochemical digestion processes that evolved for millennia. Wellomics’ approach to solve this problem was by identifying complementary natural ingredients that living systems utilize to store and transport nutrients. They have created a platform of methods to formulate raw materials in a manner that replicates how diverse oil- and water-soluble natural products are distributed in cellular compartments in foods. The resulting soft food-like particles prompt nature’s intelligence (inWelligence) for the right sequence of biophysical and chemical digestive reactions for effective absorption. To be truly bioavailable and health-promoting, a natural alternative to these synthetic excipients has long been needed for both natural health and pharmaceuticals. After over three years of research, Wellomics has filed a methods patent for VegaGel as an all-natural, vegan, non-GMO, soy-free, alcohol-free, allergen-free and GRAS targeted delivery system. To optimize absorption, the Wellomics system allows micron-sized, soluble ingredients to pass unaltered through the low pH of the stomach in order to then release in the small and large intestine. To address the wide range of gastrointestinal and allied health issues, products using our technology can deliver the best active ingredients in a form that truly supports, rather than unintentionally undermines healthy digestion.
Health E-Insights: In addition to your delivery system innovations, what is your company’s competitive advantage?
Neveu: Wellomics has developed the Effect Positioning System (EPS), a big data bioinformatics system pharmacology platform with artificial intelligence innovation that will revolutionize the natural products industry. It bridges the significant gap between product claims and outcomes, leading to evidence-based solutions for efficacy. EPS simultaneously searches and displays interactions of all known natural products, pharmaceuticals, cellular signaling pathways, adverse event reports, published literature, and other relevant databases, expediting the identification of additive and synergistic interactions between ingredients. This revolutionary process enables unique and superior formula designs and potential for patent protection. The EPS is poised to usher in a new era of evidence-based formulations, giving manufacturers the tools and knowledge to create better, safer, smarter products, and to empirically demonstrate their positive effects. Today, our EPS database organized search terms (i.e., ontologies) include approximately 64 million entries. Wellomics has also been designing innovative effective n-of-1 studies (e.g., citizen science) to decrease cost and increase impact (e.g., crowdsourcing) of clinical outcomes research. We call this new era PersonalHealthDiscovery (pHd) and have cataloged numerous direct-to-consumer tests (e.g., blood, urine), wearables, and other innovative outcomes devices to generate data necessary to empower brands to show, and consumers to find, the most effective products. We believe that empowering consumers with methods to determine what products work the best and which ones fail to deliver on marketing promise is going to lead a wave of disruptive innovation leading to vast improvements in natural health.
Health E-Insights: What type of product formulations are using your delivery systems?
Neveu: Our VegaGel technology applies to a wide range of food, beverage, and supplement product formulations ranging from low viscosity (such as beverages, shots, and sprays) to viscous hydrogels to oil soluble ingredients in gel caps. HealthyCell has been the first partner to commercialize the technology and has branded the delivery system as BioActive Gel. Wellomics natural biodelivery platform can also be applied to OTC as well as pharmaceutical formulations. Delivered in an all-natural, additive-free matrix, this technology is designed to enhance bioavailability even for the most valued but hard to assimilate natural ingredients such as curcumin, CoQ10, CBD, quercetin, resveratrol, and rapamycin. The all-natural delivery system (liquid and powder) ranges from droppers, pumps, beverages, shots, gel packs, softgels, powders (such as capsules, stick packs) and foods (such as bars, yogurts, popsicles and drinks).
In addition to optimizing bioavailability, our great tasting formulations also build cost-effective biodelivery solutions for manufacturers and brands seeking scalability. The Wellomics system allows formulators to use the same design principles found in cellular structure of foods combined with processes used in preparing culinary recipes. Contained within digestible micron-sized particles, oil soluble ingredients are ready for oil phase absorption, without any synthetic ingredients or additives to disrupt the process. This novel delivery method reproduces the molecular dispersions of oil and water-soluble ingredients found in nature, mimicking the ways that living organisms (e.g., cells) store and transfer ingredients for effective digestion and includes ingredients (prebiotics, probiotics, etc.) that support a healthy microbiome.
Health E-Insights: Where will the most significant growth occur in the company in the next few years?
Neveu: Wellomics’ business model is driven by innovation to ensure our formulations deliver on brand promise for the most discriminating consumers and retailers. We are focusing on strategic partnerships with brands sharing the vision to develop new or convert existing products to use our innovative natural delivery systems. In addition to our patent-pending VegaGel liquid technology, we are extending our natural delivery technology portfolio to soft gels, LiquiCaps, powders, and food/beverage applications. We also expect to conduct cost-effective outcomes research (e.g., citizen science, crowdsourcing) to validate the superior effectiveness of our licensed formulations. With select partners we will utilize our novel EPS bioinformatics systems pharmacology platform that identifies the best science-based ingredients using millions of research articles, vast public data sources (e.g., human genome project), and proprietary databases.
Health E-Insights: What are the significant trends you see in the industry and how might that affect your business?
Neveu: We see extensive growth in brands seeking market differentiation creating fragmentation within a crowded market of commoditized ingredients. Product lines have diversified to address issues like food sensitivities and allergies. More sophisticated consumer awareness has led to better products and improved choices for avoiding additives, artificial colors, and other unwanted ingredients. The upside is that products are cleaner (organic or natural, plant-based or vegan, derived from whole plant sources); labeling is clearer; and taste and convenience are continually being upgraded. Wellomics is the first company to find a natural delivery system to synergize with these clean formulation trends. At the same time, there is a clear trend towards personalized nutrition, as well as the reality of pill-fatigue, which must be addressed. As an early developer of nutrigenomic formulations in both the natural supplement and pharmaceutical categories, Wellomics is positioned to develop effective personalized formulations (e.g., SNP genetic bypass).
Health E-Insights: Which is most important to your organization—mission, core values, or vision?
Neveu: Our vision keeps us going. The drive/vision for innovative science often does not give a quick reward since most experiments do not work. It often takes years to decades to make a significant discovery. I founded Wellomics with one purpose: to shift the current paradigm and redefine the next generation of natural health and wellness categories. Today’s leading nutraceutical, beverage and functional food brands have a clear opportunity to raise the bar on the safety, efficacy, and bioavailability of their products. My passion over the last decade has been developing innovative nutraceutical technologies and products based on my diverse expertise in both conventional and complementary medicine. We keep to our vision and strive to create innovations necessary to enhance the speed to solve the very complex puzzle of nature’s healing power.
Health E-Insights: Share some of your proudest accomplishments.
Neveu: I completed over 30 years of cutting-edge exploratory research and translational development studies in both conventional (small molecule and biologics) and integrative healthcare (e.g., personalized wellness). My oncology laboratory participated in the discovery of the FDA-approved personalized medicine called Tarceva (EGFR kinase inhibitor) and the immune enhancement fully humanized biological called Tremelimumab (anti-CTLA4 immune enhancement antibody). As an honorary fellow at Harvard, I also performed leading research on cancer epigenetics and phase II tumor suppressors (including Maspin and Connexins). The research was published in prestigious journals (e.g., Science, Immunity) and led to many issued patents. After leaving pharmaceutical development I was president of the National Foundation for Alternative Medicine and traveled to about 40 countries to study different forms of healing.
Health E-Insights: As CEO, what keeps you up at night?
Neveu: While the healing potential of nature is omnipresent, creating formulations that solve today’s leading health challenges has proved elusive due to inability to choose the best ingredients, both additive or synergistic, and formulating the complex mixture of molecules for optimal bioavailability. Creating cost-effective solutions for this extremely difficult puzzle keeps me up at night. With a PhD in toxicology and oncology I am trained to always be striving for optimal safety and efficacy that is much easier to accomplish with single ingredient drugs.
Solving the riddle for our strategic partners to create the best combination of natural ingredients and delivering them in optimal formulation keeps me up at night. Balancing safety and particle size is also a concern given the potential risks of nanoparticles depending on methods, specific active ingredients, and excipients. Naively, I thought that solving the Rubik’s Cube of natural health formulation would be an easier task than the science I conducted that led to FDA approval for small molecule and biological oncology drugs. In fact, working with natural products is the most difficult scientific puzzle I have attempted to solve. Wellomics is committed to stay the course no matter how difficult the climb to learn from the exquisite intelligence of living systems to deliver all-natural ingredients to the body in a way that is compatible with healthy digestion.
Health E-Insights: What is the added value to the patient/consumer/doctor of the delivery system?
Neveu: Our formulations contain multiple ingredients, each with complex solubility/permeability attributes. While most dietary supplements use methods and delivery systems appropriate for single ingredient drugs, these are not sufficient for complex mixtures found in dietary supplements. FDA dietary supplement regulations do not require dissolution studies and Wellomics has found that most marketed formulations fail to dissolve in simulated gastric and intestinal fluids. Tablets and capsules disintegrate often into relatively large, dense and hard-to-absorb particles (some more than 10 times too big for absorption). In contrast, inspired by nature, the VegaGel delivery system we’ve pioneered, contains extremely small, solubilized micronutrients that can be rapidly and effectively absorbed. It’s unnecessary to take our product with water, oil and/or food since all ingredients are already dissolved. No more need to take handful of gel caps and tablets for complex formulations. The micron sized hydrogel particles (like miniature gel caps) protect sensitive ingredients throughout the digestive process in each compartment of the digestive tract. This Wellomics signature innovation releases specific ingredients in the gastrointestinal system based on differences in the pH, ions, temperature and enzymes of the stomach, small intestine and large intestine, thereby promoting gut health as well as delivering the best combination of science-based ingredients for the specific health concern they are formulated to address. Using clean label (no additives, artificial ingredients, and completely allergen-free), our formulations are designed for enhanced safety and effectiveness, while also providing the versatility of a wide range of delivery systems, including beverages, sprays, droppers, softgels, and pumps. To promote optimal bioavailability and digestion, Wellomics cost-effective and scalable formulation methods mimic the localized cellular structures found in foods to deliver water-soluble, fat- soluble, poorly soluble, less stable and difficult-to-absorb nutrients to the right place in the right way. Ongoing research increasingly supports the ability of microgels to boost the bioavailability of nutraceuticals compared to traditional tablet and capsule supplements. Bioactive Gel also eliminates the need for synthetic binding glues, fillers, coatings, and anti-caking agents listed as "other ingredients" in many supplements.
Sheldon Baker is CEO of the Baker Dillon Group LLC and has created numerous nutraceutical brand marketing communications and public relations campaigns for many well-known supplement and food industry companies. For Health E-Insights interview consideration or brand marketing consulting, contact him at SBaker@BakerDillon.com.