Derma Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq:DSCI),
a medical device and pharmaceutical company focused on advanced wound care, today announced a $7.0 million strategic investment in Comvita Limited (NZX:CVT), a global natural health and beauty products company based in New Zealand, with the purchase of approximately 2.3 million newly issued common shares. In conjunction with this investment, which represents 7.3% of Comvita’s outstanding shares, Edward J. Quilty, Derma Sciences’ chairman and chief executive officer, has been named to Comvita’s board of directors.
The use of proceeds will support Comvita’s apiary acquisition and harvest modernization strategy to ensure sufficient supply of medical grade Manuka honey to meet the growing demand for Derma Sciences’ MEDIHONEY® product line.
“This strategic investment by Derma Sciences cements the relationship between our two companies in a very meaningful way and ensures an alignment of our shared longer-term interests in further developing Comvita’s Manuka honey business,” said Brett Hewlett, Comvita’s chief executive officer. “The acquisition of strategically located apiary businesses has been important to Comvita in providing supply surety and meeting the growing global demand for medical-grade honey.”
Mr. Quilty said, “With the rapid growth of our MEDIHONEY products, Manuka honey now is our single largest raw material purchase and it is imperative that we maintain control over supply and costs. MEDIHONEY is an anchor product in our Advanced Wound Care (AWC) segment, with sales growth of approximately 50% in the second quarter. Our expectations are for continued growth for the foreseeable future in both professional wound care and over-the-counter channels. By making this investment, and by my joining the Comvita board, we anticipate having greater influence on the future cost and supply around our leading brand. Our strategic goal at Derma Sciences is to continue to grow our AWC business by 30% to 40% annually and develop our DSC127 drug platform. We believe we have adequate working capital on hand to support our current programs,” Mr. Quilty added.