Nathan Jones, CEO of Xlear, said that he feels that his company is emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic in better shape and is prepared to help retailers in the post-COVID era. He talked with Drug Store News about the challenges ahead.
Drug Store News: How has Xlear fared during the pandemic?
Nathan Jones: Xlear as a company has fared fairly well. It is a respiratory pandemic and, within a month of it starting, we had physicians around the world tell people that using nasal sprays like ours, nasal sprays that contain antiviral agents, would be of benefit to them. There were physicians from California, Europe, New Zealand and Florida all talking in the media and mentioning Xlear by name. As soon as we could, we shipped off some product to have it tested against this new virus in a lab and found out that within minutes of exposure, the virus was destroyed.
It took us a few months to get all of these studies written up and published in the medical literature. Now that the research is in the public domain, we have to start the process of getting the politicians and the bureaucrats who actually make healthcare policy to read and understand the science.
DSN: How are your retail partners doing with the category and your brand?
NJ: The first few months after it started last year, we had a back order situation, but since then, we have been able to keep up with production and to grow our business. Government regulation from the FTC has really slowed us from being able to share science and info here in the United States, so most of our sales growth has been from overseas where we are able to share the science of how nasal sprays work. It really is a simple concept: 90% of the viral load is located in the nose and upper airway, and anything we can do to reduce that viral load is going to slow the spread and reduce symptoms.
DSN: What do you suggest retailers do to maximize sales and profits?
NJ: Share research with your customers. We all are happy that the vaccines have been developed in record time. However, if we continue to stay myopically focused only on them, we are going to fail. We already know that we will never reach herd immunity by the vaccines — there are too many people that either can’t get one or that just don’t want to. Rather than shaming them in the media and calling them “anti-science,” why don’t we just look at other options that can help? That is where nasal sprays could play a role. A multilayered defensive strategy is always the most successful, including washing your hands, washing your nose, wearing an N95 mask and keeping our distance from others when we need to.
DSN: What is in the pipeline?
NJ: With all of the research supporting Xlear, we have applied for an “emergency use authorization” with the FDA. We have five in vitro studies showing how our nasal spray affects the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we have a good understanding of the method of action of how the xylitol blocks adhesion, we have small in-human trials of COVD-19 patients showing great results and we have two larger trials underway right now.
We also continue to roll out our OTC drugs that combine the decongestants, nasal steroids and antihistamines with the hydrating and cleansing properties of xylitol.
Other than that, what we have in the pipeline is a toothpaste that we just started selling that improves the strength of the enamel by upwards of 40%.
The original research behind xylitol is how it actually works to prevent tooth decay by changing the microbiome of the mouth to bacteria that just don’t create acid. Fluoride is great for helping to make the teeth strong, but it does nothing to the bacteria that are creating the acid — the real culprit. dsn