The major pains of manufacturers of OTC flu products -
and how they are solved by Cont®aFlu
1) The flu market is dominated by symptomatic fever reducing OTC products.
There is no doubt that these fever reducers are bad for the consumers: they are scientifically proven both useless and unsafe.
Why do many people still buy them?
- because they are recommended by the doctors and regulators
- because they are heavily promoted, their brand names are deep in patients' minds
- because they give distinct and fast (though very short term) relief to those who are not very health conscious and are seeking a 'quick fix' solution
- because products of complementary and alternative medicine, or integrative medicine (such as herbal products etc.) as yet cannot offer a convincing, evidence based replacement to those unsafe 'quick fixes'
At the bottom line, the high sales of unsafe fever reducing OTC products are driven by the customers' need in a 'quick fix', combined with a lack of good alternatives.
2) Sales of 'non-mainstream' products with label indications are mostly limited to countries where those products have a long standing traditional use. This cuts the manufacturer off quite large markets like China, Japan, Korea, as well as populated countries like Indonesia.
3) The overwhelming majority of current 'non-mainstream' products for flu actually have no chances to become best sellers, even though the flu market is very large: a rough estimate of the annual number of flu patients seeking medical treatment globally is 1.1 billion.
The only exception, Oscillococcinum, has managed to capture all the 'low hanging fruit' - believers in homeopathy and those who care about the safety of flu treatment for their child.
The secret of Oscillo success is that Boiron has taken maximum advantage of the minimum distinction that Oscillo has compared to all other homeopathic complexes (even those containing the same Anas barbariae!). The marginal evidence of efficacy combined with vigorous promotion of quite a weird brand name is everything that makes the difference for its sales. Oscillo just stands out, just a little bit. But this makes the whole game.
Compare the stagnant situation of homeopathic flu market globally with the flu market in Russia. Oscillo would have been top selling homeopathic flu product there as well, hadn't truly innovative homeopathic brands like Anaferon (followed by a close analog, Egoferon) been launched. The first niche that Anaferon successfully targeted in 2002 was flu in children. Then it expanded to adults. Very strong evidence of efficacy and numerous high quality clinical trials allowed Anaferon to win professional community and even receive the Reward of the Government (2005).
Today these sister brands (Anaferon+Ergoferon) hold about 20% of the national flu market in number of packs (source). Compare this to Oscillo's 2% in Russia and 3% of the US national flu market (source).
Anaferon has its own drawbacks that prevent it from entering the largest global markets; outside Russia and its close neighbors it is only registered in Vietnam and Mexico.
For a truly innovative product to become a best-seller in flu market niche, you need 3 major pillars:
1) Good evidence base
2) Good science behind the product
3) An outstanding brand name to stick in mind
Additional factors of success are:
- patent protection,
- the right market positioning,
- reasonable pricing.
Meeting all these requirements would allow very high penetration of global flu markets, even those where homeopathy is known to only a small fraction of population.
What do we mean by 'the right market positioning'?
While today popular 'alternative' flu products (like Oscillococcinum) gets into family's first-aid kits as 'the only safe solution for children', there's another part of the audience vulnerable to both flu complications and the side effects of 'chemical' fever reducers: the adults with chronic diseases.
Hence there's an unmet need in a 'non-chemical' product with a more convincing message to try it instead of the evergreen but dangerous 'quick fixes'.
Health conscious adults with chronic diseases (which account to >30% of population above 40 years) is the best target group where a truly effective innovative brand could push back the 'quick fixes' like Theraflu
Cont®aFlu has all features of a global best-seller for flu
1) It has a good evidence base (that still has to be complemented by the pivotal clinical trial):
- first, it was screened in an animal model of influenza (by the way, showing much better results than the Russian Anaferon, see a graph where Anaferon is marked as 'Ancestor');
- then, it was studied for efficacy in a GCP-compliant clinical trial with common cold patients;
- the first clinical trial pointed at the patient population that benefits most from Cont®aFlu;
- the proposed design of the pivotal clinical trial will provide the most convincing evidence of Cont®aFlu efficacy in flu-like infections sufficient for product registration.
2) It has a strong science behind, like no other existing 'non-mainstream' product with label indications:
- Cont®aFlu has a very specific molecular target, a fragment of human Toll-like receptor type 3 (TLR3);
- TLR3 is considered as one of key players in innate host response to viral infections including flu;
- discovery of innate host response is one of outstanding breakthrough discoveries awarded Nobel Prize in 2011;
- since discovery of innate immunity made in the 1990s, the 'mainstream pharma' has failed to develop any innovative product for the treatment of viral infections that would tackle innate host response;
- so Cont®aFlu is actually the first product in the world to effectively modulate innate host response to viruses;
- the first clinical trial of Cont®aFlu revealed that common cold patients with mostly mild local symptoms, i.e. those where TLR3-mediated response (which is responsible for systemic symptoms) is not pronounced, don't benefit from Cont®aFlu;
- on the other hand, Cont®aFlu was most beneficial in patients with more active TLR3-mediated response, i.e. with more active systemic symptoms of the infection.
3) Cont®aFlu has a brilliant, clear and memorable global brand name - obviously much better than any of existing medications for flu-like infections.
4) Cont®aFlu is protected by patents in major markets. As an innovative product, it will take advantage of market exclusivity status even in those countries where patent applications were not filed.
5) Cont®aFlu allows flexible opportune market positioning.
In our opinion, the best target population for positioning is adults with chronic diseases who have to be conscious about their long-term health issues when choosing their treatment for flu.
Hence Cont®aFlu can first be positioned as a 'must-have' for the family's first-aid kit.
6) Finally, low manufacturing cost (<$0.70) would allow very competitive pricing depending on the target marketing, with an attractive profit margin.
Cont®aFlu would easily beat both Oscillo and the best selling OTC brands if priced within $10 in high-income countries. In middle-income markets where price is more important, even $3 for a package would keep profit margin at an acceptable level.
All major pains of OTC manufacturing companies are addressed by Cont®aFlu.
It has all prerequisites to become the best-seller in global flu markets.
And now the IP package of Cont®aFlu is available for acquisition.