Product Development A to Z: From idea to in-store!
How is a Flordis product developed?
Ever wondered how a Flordis product started out? Who put the ginseng in Ginsana? How did we decide on the particular G115® extract to use? And why did we combine it with an extract of Ginkgo biloba to make Gincosan? Let’s find out how our products get from a mere idea to a clinically researched product on the shelf!
Much time and research is invested into the initial ‘idea’ for a Flordis product. Generally, it evolves in one of three ways:
- New Product Development – as the name suggests, this is a completely new product idea, based on current and future customer needs - and what we believe will improve the health of our consumers. We come up with these ideas by finding out what customers want or need (customer engagement surveys) and what health care practitioners feel would benefit their patients the most (key opinion leader panels).
- Existing Product Development- This approach involves the “renovation” of a product that we already have developed. The purpose is to revamp a product to improve it, whether that’s changing the formulation to enhance the taste, or adding new ingredients so it works a little differently
- Adopted Product Development – This involves sourcing products that have already begun their development journey and match our strict criteria and values, while meeting a customer need that we’ve identified. If these criteria are met, we can adopt them under the Flordis brand.
The Flordis “Seed to Patient” product development pipeline
Once a viable idea has been formed, it’s then onto the more practical tasks of setting up a robust process which will allow us to develop a high quality product that customers can be confident will be effective for the treatment of that particular health condition. Floris prides itself on the “source to patient” development pipeline.
Starting with the “Seed”: Cultivation and extraction
Herbal medicines are isolated from plants, which contain complex mixtures of what we consider “active ingredients”. There are a number of variables which can impact how much active ingredient we are able to extract from a plant - some of these include the conditions in which the plant is grown ( soil type, climate), the time of year the plant is harvested, the part of the plant that is used and the methods by which we extract the ingredients. To ensure that we can consistently extract adequate quantities of quality active ingredient we work very closely with our growers to makes sure we have a defined process in place.
Pre-clinical research: testing our idea in the lab
Once we’ve got an eligible raw material of a reliable quality we then enter our pre-clinical phase.
This is where we take our ingredient and formulation and research how it exerts its effects, whether it is effective in producing our desired outcomes, and whether there could be any potential side-effects. All of this research is conducted in the lab environment either using cell based (in vitro) or animal models (in vivo).
Often there is lots of existing evidence about particular ingredients or herbs, but it is important that we test our specific product during this phase. This helps us decide how best to evaluate the product when it comes to human clinical trials and minimise any risks for negative outcomes.
Our research is conducted in collaboration with key thought leaders from leading global Research Institutes, Universities and Contract Research Organisations.
Getting the right formulation
As part of the product development, we need to ‘package’ our ingredients so they remain stable and are in a form that can be delivered where they need to go in the body. That’s all about the formulation - making it into a tablet or capsule that preserves all of the active ingredient’s desirable effects. This is an iterative process that involves both pre-clinical testing and optimisation based on the outcomes of these studies.
We also ask our scientists to find out whether they’re going to be able to “go large” with our idea! When you upscale and use larger machinery, sometimes there can be issues with reproducibility. We need to ensure the process is scalable and that we can produce enough product at the defined quality.
Our formulation development is predominantly carried out by the Research and Development team in the SFI Switzerland (Bioggio) facility.
Clinical research: time to trial our idea in humans
Finally – we’ve done all the ground work – now it’s time to see the product in action – in real, living human beings! A proof of concept trial (or safety/efficacy trial) can be conducted in a small cohort of participants to confirm that the product has a good safety profile and to identify any trends which may demonstrate that the product would have a clinical benefit. In order to demonstrate convincingly that a product is effective, a clinical trial that enables statistical analysis of the data will need to be conducted. This, in most cases, will involve a larger number of patients and is typically done once a product is available on the market (post-market efficacy trial). All Flordis products have been tested in an efficacy or a post-market efficacy trial.
So there you have it, the entire product development journey. Only when an idea makes it through each of these stages does it end up on the shelf. Which means you can have confidence that your Flordis product is of the highest quality and has been fully tried and tested before you ever picked it up!