|Bing Baksh founded Vita-Herb Nutriceuticals, Inc. (VHNI) after preparing himself with 20 years of a rare mixture of experience in engineering and related disciplines:|
Bing's wide and deep background was acquired working with major manufacturers: Glaxo and Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Canada, Burroughs Wellcome Co., North Carolina, and Nutrilite, California.
Bing left Nutrilite after 6 years energized with a unique vision for VHNI: With all that he had learned, he knew that he could design an encapsulating facility with such tight space utilization and product flow that he could create an environment as bright, clean, and efficient as a hospital operating room.
Bing launched VHNI in 1999, realizing his vision--an advanced technology encapsulating company, home to the leading-edge NON-GEL liquid delivery system.
Question: What does VHNI offer that we can't get elsewhere?
Bing Baksh: First of all, we can give your customers liquid supplements in vegetarian capsules. No more mixing your liquid nutrients with parts of animal carcasses. This not only hits the vegetarian button, it hits the environmental button because there are no agricultural chemicals or caustic solvents involved in our NON-GELô process.
Q: I know about Vegicapsô, but I didn't know there is a vegetarian delivery system for liquid supplements. Is this something new?
BB: Relatively new. But what's remarkable is not so much its newness, but that hardly anybody knows about this technology. It's taken for granted in the nutritional industry that if you want to deliver liquid supplements to your customers in capsules, it has to be gelatin softgels. Well, that was so until recently, but with VHNI that has changed. Now your customers won't have to swallow gelatin they don't want in order to get nutrients they do want.
Q: What makes NON-GELSô possible?
BB: Hydoxypropylmethylcellulose. That's the long version. The short version is HPMC. HPMC is cellulose derived from young pine trees, grown without agricultural chemicals.
Q: What happens to it internally?
BB: It's quickly broken down by stomach acids, releasing the contents of the capsule, then goes through the GI tract like other forms of cellulose. It's non-soluble fiber, not absorbed into the bloodstream.
Q: What about stability?
BB: An important question . . . Stability is another advantage of NON-GELSô over softgels. NON-GELSô control odor and leakage effectively, and don't melt like gelatin, which is a big plus in the international market, where you're sending product to hot, humid climates. Also internationally, there's a huge potential market in those parts of the world with vegetarian traditions.
Q: Are there any branding possibilities?
BB: Absolutely. You can have virtually any combination of three colors-the two halves and the band each a different color, with your brand name, logo, or slogan imprinted. Your NON-GELô capsules themselves can leave your brand's impression with your customer.
Q: I see that liquids in NON-GELSô capsules have a little bubble. Can this be eliminated?
BB: No. But it can be made a non-issue by using opaque caps. And we can fill the bubbles with nitrogen gas to eliminate oxygen, making oxidation a non-issue too.
Q: NON-GELSô obviously have a lot of advantages. What about cost?
BB: NON-GELSô are slightly higher than softgels, but you probably won't want to absorb the extra cost. I think most companies will put NON-GELSô on the shelf at a slightly higher price.
Q: Does VHNI also offer gelatin encapsulating?
BB: Yes. VHNI offers complete encapsulating services-dry, liquids, suspensions, pastes, waxes. Everything can be either gelatin or NON-GELô.
Q: What level of technical or product development support can we expect?
BB: You're supported by 20 years of manufacturing experience, 30 years of formulating experience, and a fully equipped lab .
Q: What type of protection can we expect for our secret formulations?
BB: We're very sensitive to that issue and strictly honor non-disclosure, confidentiality agreements.
Q: Does VHNI have product/general liability coverage?
BB: Yes, your company can be added as an additional insured party.
Q: Can you also provide us with finished goods?
BB: Yes, VHNI offers packaging services.
Q: On your powder-filled capsules, you're probably aware that new regulations require OTC drugs in two-piece capsules have a tamper-evident feature. How are you handling that?
BB: That's handled by a system known as TATEÆ, an abbreviation for our Technology-Assured Tamper-Evident sealing system. TATE assures you that you're in compliance with the new regs, and will instill consumer confidence in your products.
Q: How does your pricing compare on dry materials?
BB: You'll probably find us lower than your present supplier. We're very competitive. And we have other advantages that show up on the bottom line. Our minimums are in the tens of thousands, not millions. So that can have a big impact on cash flow. Another VHNI advantage is lead time, which is in terms of weeks, not months. That makes just-in-time delivery a reality, which can also have a big impact on cash flow, and on inventory control-with VHNI you don't have to lose business because of out-of-stocks.
Q: Okay VHNI is competitive on prices. What about the manufacturing standards of your facility?
BB: VHNI is more than competitive-we're technically
top-tier. VHNI is designed and operated to pharmaceutical
standards, with an OTC drug license and DEA/State Bureau
of Narcotics registration. When you visit VHNI, what you see
will remind you of a hospital operating room. You can see what
I mean by clicking on this virtual tour
link. We've made the virtual tour so
comprehensive and thorough that you'll probably decide you don't
need to visit us physically. But you're welcome to do that too-just
call for an appointment. Virtually or physically, we're delighted
to show you why VHNI is among the best-in-class in the contract/private