Kiwi anti-ageing skincare brand MitoQ launched in late 2012 and is already forecasting multimillion dollar revenue for 2013, with shipments daily to Europe, America, Asia, and Australia.
It's shunning traditional retail (pharmacies, department stores, etc) in favour of a purely digital sales strategy – a move intended to distance the brand from the "false promises" of the advertising-driven beauty industry and let the science speak for itself.
Global from day one, MitoQ is rooted in breakthroughs from two professors from opposite sides of the globe – Dr Mike Murphy at Cambridge University and Dr Robin Smith, a chemistry professor at Otago University – and developed here at Otago over the past decade.
The basic gist: MitoQ’s active ingredient is a derivative of CoQ, a component of the body’s own antioxidant system. MitoQ’s technology delivers CoQ to the mitochondria (which are responsible for turning food and oxygen into energy) within cells to protect against free radicals. MitoQ claims that until now no antioxidant has been able to reach inside the mitochondrial membrane in significant quantities, and that its technology is 1,000 times more effective than anything previously possible.
According to Murphy, numerous academic studies support the science behind this.
“The formula we developed delivers high levels of CoQ straight to the mitochondria in cells, significantly increasing the number of antioxidants available to fight free radicals and reduce the signs of ageing. Without question it is the most effective biological antioxidant ever produced.”
The science (which is patented in New Zealand and in several other countries around the world, including the US and China) is owned by Auckland-based MitoQ Ltd, which is headed up by New Zealand pharmacist Greg MacPherson, the company's global sales manager. So far marketing efforts have been concentrated in the UK and Europe and a North American marketing team has just been appointed. Asia will be another key market.
MacPherson says the topical product is a good introduction for consumers, who can see the results firsthand.
An oral pill is being developed as well; MacPherson says MitoQ receives enquiries every day about when this will be available. The potential for the science in other areas is "significant", he says, with possible applications for sufferers of diabetes to Alzheimer's.