Sirius Pet Biologics, founded by husband-and-wife duo Antony Leo and Lusyana Tirtawidjaja in 2021, is a pet health science firm that targets both the retail market and veterinary clinics.
With the help of local research scientist Dr. Chia Tet-Fatt, the company has so far launched 11 product SKUs under the brand Furment.
The short form of Furkids and ferMentation, Furment consists of five SKUs for the retail sector and the remaining six SKUs targeted at vets and online dispensary.
These products were formulated using Dr. Chia’s Miiiome Technology – a technique for developing postbiotics for human, pet, and agricultural use.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, Leo, also the managing director, said that there was growing awareness among vets in the use of postbiotics, although there was still room for more education.
“The vets themselves have acknowledged that microbiome is a big thing, and the trend is getting bigger.
“Two years ago, if you speak to any vets about postbiotics, they will be like, what is that, and do you mean pre or probiotics? It's that kind of response.
“Now, with more scientific journals publishing findings on postbiotics, they would have come across the term postbiotics, but they might not understand the context of postbiotics or understand it in-depth, so we still have to do our job to distinguish the difference between pro and postbiotics,” he said.
One key difference, he pointed out, was that postbiotics, being ‘dead’ bacteria, do not need to be refrigerated, while most probiotics would require refrigeration.
This also means that postbiotics could have a longer shelf-life, which is 18 months for the firm’s products, said Leo.
He added that postbiotics could be administered with antibiotics, again, due to its advantage as ‘dead’ bacteria, which meant it would not be wiped out by antibiotics.
One such example is its capsule product MegaCor.
Aside from suitability for use with antibiotics, it is said to rejuvenate, strengthen the gut microbiome, and speed up post-surgery recovery.
The formulation is made up of a proprietary blend of fermented Lactobacillus postbiotics, including postbiotics of L. acidophilus, L. paracasei, L. plantarum, L. reuteri, L. rhamnosus, as well as ‘live’ probiotics L. acidophilus, L. paracasei, L. plantarum, L. reuteri, and L. rhamnosus.
Aside from capsule, the firm also offers products in the form of powder, gel, and human-grade skin spray.
“We are a pet health science innovation company that focuses on the next-gen microbiome solutions, what we want to do is to transform pet health.
“Our focus right now is on the gut and skin microbiome solutions and our main medium is postbiotic based although we also have probiotics,” said Leo.
The firm manufactures its products from scratch from its office cum production facility in Siglap, east of Singapore.
Common ailments and NPD
Currently, the firm’s postbiotics tackle four health areas, namely gut, immune, renal and derma health, which Leo said were the areas where most pet health problems have stemmed from.
Most of these problems, he emphasised, were related to gut dysbiosis.
“More than 50 per cent of vet visits are due to digestive and skin issues…One in four dogs and one in five cats will die from cancer and all of these are linked to gut dysbiosis,” he said.
Other relatively common problems are chronic kidney disease and urinary tract infection in cats, bacterial, viral and fungal infection.
Based on feedback from the vets, the firm is planning to develop new products that come in larger volumes catered to bigger sized dogs.
There are also plans to create products that support oral, liver health, as well as alleviating ear infection.
Higher pet population, more health problems
Asked the reason for focusing on pet nutrition, Leo said that there has been a steady increase in pet populations, this also meant a higher incidence of pet health problems, and this was where pet supplements could play a role in.
“We compared the birth rate of women in a lot of developed nations in APAC against the pet population using data from World Bank in 2020.
“Birth rates are declining in Malaysia, Australia, Japan, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, even Thailand, the birth rate is all below two.
“But if you look at the pet population, it has increased. For example, in the case of China, if you look at year 2015 versus 2022, it has jumped from 30 million to 220 million…We already identified the trend before COVID-19 but COVID-19 confirmed the trend.”
Leo said that so far, the firm’s strongest markets were in Singapore, Indonesia, and Japan.
In Singapore, he claimed that the firm covered more than 30 per cent of the veterinary clinics across the island. Examples of the vets using its products include The Cat Vet, The Animal Clinic, and Pets Avenue.
“Our strength at the moment is supplying the products to the vets but our retail range is also moving quite nicely.
“This is because we have different range, gels and powder. This is basically habitual; some pet owners prefer to sprinkle powder on the food and mix it, rather than dose it on gel, and powder is also more economical.”
On the retail front, the firm sells direct to consumers on its website as well as in online marketplaces Shopee, Lazada, and Amazon.
It is planning to expand into Malaysia, Thailand, Europe, Brunei, and Papua New Guinea.