Dr. Emek Blair moved to Colorado from California in 2006 to work for a Fortune 500 company before becoming the entrepreneur he is today. Dr. Blair licensed the intellectual property behind Valimenta’s flagship vitamin-making process to other companies for about five years before deciding he wanted to go into manufacturing himself. “I decided to go on my own and vertically integrate,” he says. “It’s more lucrative and you get to decide on your own direction.”
Valimenta’s proprietary liposomal manufacturing process is a trade secret, but the end products, which include sprays, gels, and liquids, of vitamins and supplements incased in lipids, or fats, have a two-year shelf life.
“We use a more natural process,” says Blair, likening the molecular structure to milk. “Let’s say you take a gram of vitamin C. You only absorb 200 milligrams and everything else gets rejected. You’re wasting energy.”
And tablets and capsules don’t protect vitamins from digestion. “A lot of nutrients are destroyed by your stomach,” he adds. “You eat them and your stomach just vaporizes them.”
Valimenta-made products “package vitamins into a bubble that the body can recognize and absorb at a high rate. We’re mimicking how the body absorbs nutrients.” These liposomal particles are as small as 50 nanometers across and delivered in a gluten-, alcohol-, soy-free liquid made from sunflower oil and other ingredients.
Valimenta offers turnkey manufacturing services, including packaging and quality control. Clients run the gamut from existing vitamin brands to mom-and-pop marketing businesses.
Blair first worked with lipid-coating processes as a student at the University of California, Irvine. Innovation came by way of a happy accident. “Under certain conditions, I was able to dissolve materials in a solution, and that’s what I was trying to avoid,” he says.
Then Blair flipped the discovery on its head and developed a manufacturing process. “The process is novel, but it’s not what I’d call rocket science,” he says. “What’s cool about it is it scales. It’s really affordable to make it in large volumes.”
To that end, Valimenta moved into a newly built, 13,000-square-foot facility in February 2018 after operating out of a 7,500-square-foot space since 2015. “We’ll be able to produce 10X what we produce now.”
Forecasting 60 percent growth for 2018, Blair is planning to boost sales and production with new hires to fill out the new capacity.
But it ultimately comes down to performance, he adds, and conclusive data is the best sales pitch for Valimenta’s manufacturing technology. “We invest a lot of time, energy, and resources doing clinical studies,” says Blair. A 2012 study by Colorado State University researchers showed significantly higher absorption rates for liposomal Vitamin C over traditional vitamins.
Click here to read the article on Company Week.