Six-year-old Moberg Derma passed a significant milestone in Q3 2011, by turning in an operating profit for the first time. Furthermore, the Stockholm, Sweden-based producer of a new over‑the-counter topical fungal nail treatment, and developer of a range of other potentially powerful cosmetic and skin treatments, is confident of further improvements on this performance as its range becomes better known in global markets.

Its initial success is a result of its efforts to get its launch product, the nail fungal treatment Nalox, its patented treatment of discoloured and damaged nails caused by nail fungus (onychomycosis) or nail psoriasis, into the market. In September 2010, after 4 years of development, the product was launched in the Nordic countries, seen as the ‘home market’ of Moberg Derma.

Commercial development

The company is small (some 20 staff at present), but has built ambitious expansion plans around, what its CEO and president, Peter Wolpert, describes as a fairly unique business model. In 2011, the company embarked on an intense period of partnering with larger companies, which has, to date, given it the potential to exploit a total of 50 geographic markets globally.

Those markets include most of the European continent, where long-standing partner Meda (which launched Nalox in the Nordic countries), among others, will represent it; and the US, where in the second half of 2011, Moberg Derma’s US distributor Alterna began taking orders for the product, including from the retail chain Walmart. In the US, Alterna markets it under its established Kerasal brand, as Kerasal Nail. In some other countries, it is known as Emtrix.

This type of commercial adaptation is all part of Moberg Derma’s strategy for penetrating markets with the Nalox franchise, and is likely to be the model for the future pipeline of new products being developed. This includes a second‑generation nail fungal treatment. These products in development have a combined potential sales value of $3 billion, Mr Wolpert told an investor meeting late last year.

For now, however, the commercial focus is entirely on the launch product, which is described as a non-prescription topical nail product that has the potential to become the firstline treatment for common nail disorders. Moberg Derma says it has a unique and rapid mechanism of action, which brings visible improvements within 2–4 weeks of treatment. Nail fungus is the most common nail disease and affects approximately 10% of the general population, and increases with age.

Dermatologist Eckhart Haneke1 wrote in PRIME that onychomycosis increases in frequency with age, reaching up to 50–60% in the over 60 years age group, and is more resistant to treatment the older the patient is. Psoriasis of the nails is also more frequent in older individuals and often recalcitrant to therapy.

Ageing of the nails, a relatively inconspicuous process, is the result of a general slow-down of the metabolism in older persons, impaired vascular supply, and decreased physical activity. The fingernails become thinner, more friable, develop longitudinal ridging and lose part of their shine, whereas the toenails tend to become thick, yellowish and hard.