A New Zealand Research Commercialisation Success Story

Calocurb® eyes global expansion with exponential year-on-year growth

This 100% plant-based supplement developed by Plant & Food Research was a world-first for weight management when it launched in 2018.

The secret to its success? Amarasate®, an extract from New Zealand hops, which researchers found to be an effective compound to trigger the ‘Bitter Brake’™ – a natural evolutionary response whereby bitter compounds trigger a ‘stop eating’ signal in the brain.

The Amarasate extract project was presented to the KiwiNet Investment Committee in March 2017 and received $122,000 in PreSeed funding to find the best path to market through a global partner and ensure the commercialisation strategy maximised value to NZ.

“The company is now seeing an impressive 400% year-on-year growth across five geographies, with plans to expand into four further markets in the coming year.”

With support from KiwiNet PreSeed funding, Plant & Food Research was able to determine the product to be Generally Recognized As Safe and gain health claim substantiation through US experts. After completing US market validation in the UCLA GAP program, Plant & Food Research gained a provisional patent, and contracted the world’s leading company for capsule production. The technology was then licensed to a group of New Zealand senior executives backed by private equity.

Calocurb, a product containing the Amarasate® extract, launched in May 2018 across the US and New Zealand. By selling directly to its customers from the outset, Calocurb was able to enter offshore markets quickly to develop direct consumer relationships.

However, success didn't come easily. The first 18 months were challenging for Calocurb, as the team expanded quickly across geographies and had to grasp the fast-paced complexities of operating largely online.

The company is now seeing impressive 400% year-on-year growth across five geographies. Calocurb employs five FTE people in New Zealand, with plans to expand into four further markets in the coming year.

As well as providing strong financial returns for New Zealand, Calocurb continues its science-first approach. It is currently partnering with Plant & Food Research to conduct world-leading research into the use of the Amarasate extract to reduce hunger during fasting, aiming to enter the new, fast growing consumer segment of intermittent fasting diets.

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Plant & Food Research