Sharer | The only one in the world! How did this Australian listed company overcome the health and beauty conundrum?

Australian Financial News 2022-01-10 03:38

Video: Sharer talk show interview with Anagenics CEO Maria Halasz

A serendipitous journey unlocks a storied business experience. 

This is the story of Anagenics.

Our guest speaker for this episode of the Sharer talk show is Maria Halasz, president of ASX listed global health and beauty technology company Anagenics Limited. 

Belle (Partner of Eakin McCaffery Cox Lawyers), the host of the Sharer talk show, asked with interest about the amazing journey. 

Maria Halasz replied with a smile, “It was a magical trip to Japan, I was suffering from hair loss, and happened to use the évolis product. I brought it back to Australia with me to continue using it. I didn’t think much about it at first, but after a while when I went back to the salon to get my hair done, my stylist asked me in amazement, what did you do? How did your hair get so thick?”

“I thought about it for a long time and eventually realised that the only possible cause for my sudden hair-growth was the évolis product I bought from Japan, so I recommended it to my stylist.”

From here on, a new business journey officially began.

Maria Halasz, who has a background in the medical and biological sciences already holds a strong business track record in the biotech industry (venture capital and corporate management). She was keen to capture this new business opportunity.

As we all know, people have grown to be increasingly conscious of their health. Various health factors have become the consensus of the market which is destined to be an important outlet throughout the next 10 years.      

Data shows that the market size of the ever-growing health industry has already reached 15 billion Australian Dollars in the Australian market alone (May 2020 data).

This is very exciting for Maria Halasz who has many years of experience in the industry. Maria’s drive to discover great products and open new markets for them is far greater than the pressure she faces. Her determination and confidence is passed on to everyone in the company. 

This brings us to Anagenics’ product line évolis, and its core technology – the inhibition of FGF5 proteins.

As research on hair continues to deepen, researchers have found that hair will grow and fall out repeatedly. Hair loss is thought to be caused by a protein called FGF5, which is produced when hair enters the end of growth and binds to receptors on the dermal papilla of the hair root tissue. 

The same conclusion was drawn in experiments conducted on animals and humans which further confirmed the relationship between hair growth, shedding and the FGF5 protein. For example, Angora rabbits are born with a defect in the FGF5 gene, so they are prone to grow thick fur. 

Simply put, the more FGF5 protein in the human body, the easier it is to lose hair. If the function of FGF5 can be inhibited, hair can remain on the scalp longer and continue to grow. 

As the world’s first and currently, only R&D company that has mastered the key factor which inhibits FGF5 protein, Anagenics has successfully developed évolis products for hair loss.

In clinical and placebo-controlled studies, évolis was shown to effectively inhibit the FGF5 protein and reduce hair loss, further enhancing the recognition and endorsement of the product in biotechnology research.

After long negotiations, Anagenics formally acquired the Japanese bioresearch and development company in 2013 and obtained the key technology and product line for inhibiting FGF5 protein.

Maria Halasz admitted, “Effectiveness is the first starting point. Using the product yourself and witnessing the desired effect is the best promotion.” 

With the help of Anagenics, évolis products have made great achievements in the Australian, Japanese and American markets. In recent years they continued to achieve an annual growth rate of 40%. 

But Maria Halasz did not stop there. She had bigger dreams.

Pick a new starting point, then start again.

“Our goal is to be a sales platform for all types of anti-aging products, not just hair products.”

Maria Halasz is aware that the growth of the company requires not only organic growth, but also needs to undergo expansion through acquisitions. So, Anagenics has been looking for suitable acquisition targets.

Anagenics has acquired the cosmetics and beauty company Belo Corp Cosmetics from Australian-listed HGL (ASX.HN). The company currently holds 11 international brands in Australia and New Zealand both in terms of turnover and sales channels. Cosmetics complements Anagenics’ existing brand line and marketing strategy.

“Cosmetics products mostly sell at specialty beauty salons and spas, something that Anagenics lacks. Upon completion of the acquisition, Anagenics will leverage Belo Corp. Cosmetics’ well-established distribution channels to sell its own anti-aging and hair care products. Sales and revenues are expected to double.”

Continuing to look forward and search for the next business point, this is the direction that Maria Halasz insists on.

In the post-epidemic context and in response to the rapid changes faced by the industry, Anagenics is actively transforming into a science-based, innovative, consumer-first global health and beauty technology company. It is evolving from a powerful commercial organisation to a first-class scientific giant. At the same time, Anagenics uses data to drive market models and provide consumers with better products and solutions.

When it comes to the direction of development in the next five years, Maria Halasz has her own goals.

The first is innovation.

Innovative business development models and innovative products.

Combining science and beauty based on biotech R&D. 

Be committed to researching a series of truly effective and clinically proven anti-aging and hairdressing products.

The second is commitment.

Fulfill the unchanging promise to consumers. 

Create a business model driven by markets, consumer advice and information.

Third, co-operation and opportunities.

Anagenics will further enhance its partnership with global business partners and explore domestic and international biotechnology and beauty companies acquisition opportunities. It aims to give full play to the advantages of coordination to serve consumers. 

Develop the Chinese Market 

As the world’s second largest economy with a growing middle class, Chinese people are in pursuit of high-quality products which brings unlimited opportunities and space for global biotechnology companies.

Maria Halasz said, “Chinese young people work very hard, but are losing their hair earlier than their parents, and getting wrinkles before their mothers. So, the original intention of Anagenics to enter the Chinese market is to help them discover products that are really useful”

To this end, Anagenics spent 2-3 years studying the Chinese market, and thus, began working on their strong strategic layout.

What is the key to opening a new market?

Maria Halasz stressed, Product effectiveness is the key to everything!

A key challenge for the biotech industry involves how to conduct better research and development, how to find more effective new products and how to better understand the biological factors and mechanisms behind different product directions. This requires continuous efforts and breakthroughs by the R & D team. Collaborating with local distributors to build a mutual trust and cooperation mechanism is vital.

Maria Halasz states that Anagenics has always been open to working with aspiring partners in China to launch products and services that meet the needs of Chinese consumers.

Faced with a constantly adapting Chinese market, how will Anagenics capture opportunities that arise from the Chinese Market as a well-known biotechnology company in Australia and New Zealand? 

Maria Halasz offers three tips:

    1    Carry out a constant commitment to the Chinese market: focus on good products that benefit Chinese consumers;

    2    Enhance communication with local partners to meet the specific consumer needs of the Chinese market through in-depth knowledge and understanding;

    3    Always be curious and try new things. Maria Halasz has been experimenting with live streaming platforms in China.

Not forgetting the original goal of effect first – breaking through and seizing opportunities that arise continues to be a core vision of this Australian listed company. This is the story of Maria Halasz and Anagenics. 

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