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Stephen O’Hara, CEO, OptiBiotix Health PLC

Stephen O'Hara Stephen O'Hara

OptiBiotix Health PLC

Established in 2012, OptiBiotix Health PLC is a global market leader in microbiome modulation biotechnology. The company develops and commercializes probiotics and functional fiber blends that improve health and wellbeing. It specializes in producing science-backed compounds for use in food, dietary supplements and biotherapeutics that prevent and manage human metabolic diseases including obesity, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Stephen O’Hara, CEO of OptiBiotix Health PLC trained as a microbiologist and has more than 50 publications and 70-plus patents to his name. Whilst a scientist by training, O’Hara is at heart an entrepreneur with a track record of success in identifying opportunities and commercializing products. He founded OptiBiotix in May 2012 and ProBiotix Health Ltd. in 2018 to commercialize opportunities in the evolving microbiome field.

NIE: OptiBiotix recently launched a subsidiary company in India. Why did the company choose to expand there?

O’Hara: Launching our subsidiary in India is not just a strategic decision to help support our local distribution partners, it is also crucial for long term growth. For instance, cardiovascular disease accounts for up to 27 percent of all deaths in the region (WHO) and obesity prevalence stands at 40.3 percent.1 To combat the rising obesity levels and help support cardiovascular health, our subsidiary will help to ensure India has greater access to scientifically supported products, such as our award-winning weight management ingredient SlimBiome and the patented probiotic strain LPLDL. A physical presence in the region will also increase speed to market for our partners, adding resilience and improving redundancy through a much more localized supply chain.

NIE: ProBiotix Health, a subsidiary of OptiBiotix, recently unveiled new scientific evidence that its patented probiotic strain, Lactobacillus plantarum LPLDL, can significantly reduce LDL cholesterol levels. How are studies like this one beneficial for the company?

O’Hara: A product that is backed by science and has demonstrated its efficacy in several human intervention studies delivers many benefits, especially in offering an effective means for consumers to improve heart health. For OptiBiotix, this means that with each new study published, we are continuing to add credibility to the product’s effectiveness through different control groups.

For instance, our first study, which was carried out by the University of Reading, investigated normal to high cholesterol in individuals and how effectively LPLDL could manage those levels. While our second, carried out by the University of Pavia, demonstrated how LPLDL (via CholBiomeBP) could reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure in individuals with normal to high blood pressure levels. With our latest study, we investigated the potential LPLDL could have on hypercholesterolemic adults when taken daily versus a placebo. Not only were the results statistically significant for those taking LPLDL, but the study also demonstrated that the probiotic was required to be taken consistently to ensure cholesterol levels did not revert.

Studies like this are essential for OptiBiotix. It highlights that our probiotic is scientifically sound, with a clear-cut benefit to improving cardiovascular risk biomarkers. This increases interest from distribution partners, or others that want to work with us, since there’s now additional data proving the efficacy of our product. As we move through to the consumer, it improves trust and helps to clarify that there are supplements available in the market with scientific backing.

NIE: What does the future of OptiBiotix look like? What does the company want to accomplish going forward?

O’Hara: The future of OptiBiotix is bright. Microbiologists and scientists were only just scratching the surface 10 years ago regarding the microbiome. Now, we are already looking at the second generation of probiotics and microbiome modulators to prevent and reduce risk biomarkers of the world’s biggest diseases. As our knowledge broadens, so too does our scientific understanding of how to treat preventable diseases like obesity and CVD (cardiovascular disease) with patented formulations, such as LPLDL, in food supplements or through biotherapeutics.

At OptiBiotix, we believe better science equals better health. Yet in order to provide this, we must increase our global presence more so than it is today. Whether that’s through engaging with partners that have excellent geographical scope or through investing in our research and development, we want to continue to offer science-backed products to consumers around the world. If preventative health care is the way forward, OptiBiotix wants to make it much more accessible to the everyday consumer to make a real difference.

NIE: Is there anything else you would like to add?

O’Hara: The microbiome is a fascinating area of science today and it will only continue to develop year-on-year. From designer prebiotics that can modulate the microbiome to help support those suffering with chronic disease to the rise of dietary fibers in personalized weight management, OptiBiotix looks forward to being a part of that future, so that we can deliver improved health to all.


1 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0972753120987465.

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