Joachim Solfronk: More than 60 years of market presence makes SymbioPharm one of the most experienced specialists in probiotics. The company was founded in 1954 to investigate bacteria and launch products based on Enterococcus faecalis as well as E. coli, which today are registered as probiotic drugs in a number of countries. SymbioPharm is currently a leading manufacturer and distributor of medical devices as well as high-quality pharmaceutical and over-the-counter (OTC) probiotics, made in Germany and manufactured under Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards.
The company's portfolio represents some of the most recent scientific discoveries in the world of microbiota, containing bacteria that trigger beneficial reactions from the immune system, protect the mucosa or contain prebiotic substances to nourish beneficial microbiota. It includes OTC drugs, medical devices, foods for special medical purposes and food supplements, and also combination products like prebiotics and detox kits. Applications include treatment for allergies, respiratory illnesses like chronic sinusitis and bronchitis, and gastric illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome and antibiotic associated diarrhoea - as well as bacterial vaginosis, eradication of Helicobacter pylori, liver discharge and high cholesterol.
What you usually find in the consumer probiotic industry is products with lactic acid bacteria, distributed by food manufacturers with large portfolios of food supplements ranging from vitamins to phytos and some probiotics.
SymbioPharm, on the other hand, is a pharmaceutical company producing probiotic OTC drugs under GMP standards based on living Enterococcus and Escherichia coli. On a worldwide basis, one finds very few probiotic drugs - SymbioPharm holds three of them and is very proud of this.
As a complement to these, it also carries a wide range of food supplements with lactic acid bacteria. Over 90% of SymbioPharm's sales are based on probiotic products. Furthermore, it invests heavily in clinical and preclinical studies on its existing products and innovations.
Specifically, the immune-modulating effect of its OTC drugs Symbioflor 1, Symbioflor 2 and Pro-Symbioflor is very different to the effect of probiotics based on lactic acid bacteria.
The non-pathogenic strains of Enterococcus faecalis and E. coli trigger beneficial reactions from the immune system. SymbioPharm's Symbioflor drugs are indicated not only for the gastrointestinal tract but also for the respiratory tract, as well as for allergies.
Yes, of course! For example, there's SymbioVag, a symbiotic vaginal suppository to treat bacterial vaginosis. Administering efficient bacterial strains combined with other active ingredients, it introduces 'good' bacteria and promotes the development of existing health-beneficial bacteria.
A study published in 2015 showed that SymbioVag - with its unique combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus gasseri and the prebiotic substance inulin and calcium-lactate - resulted in a general improvement of symptoms, a decrease in vaginal pH, and improved vaginal flora. The trial provides clear evidence for the use of SymbioVag in patients suffering from bacterial vaginosis.
Firstly, the ever-growing number of new bacteria detected by the uncovering of the human microbiome. Bacteria with such exotic names - like Akkermansia muciniphila and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii - have become very famous in the past decade.
This is because their metabolites, such as propionic acid or butyric acid, are considered even more important than the bacteria themselves. Probiotics based on bacteria such as Akkermansia muciniphila and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii hold a lot of potential for future products, but I think the registration hurdles will be very difficult and we might not see these probiotics very soon.
SymbioPharm already offers an indirect solution. With SymbioIntest, we have developed a prebiotic based on resistant starch as booster for the production of bacterial metabolites. A recently finished, but hitherto unpublished, study showed the increase of butyric acid following the intake of SymbioIntest.
The other interesting trend is the move away from only gastrointestinal indications into new areas because of groundbreaking diagnostics - for example, the launch of SymbioLact Cholesterin Control in Germany in October 2017.