Soothing The Itch

Finding a good fix for his own itch led Jason Humphries to scratch his head in search of a solution.

Humphries’ search for respite from his fungal infection led him to a business opportunity that he hopes will emulate the success of household names like Axe Oil and Tiger Balm.

Suu Balm, was launched last year. It is the first commercial product between Good Pharma Dermatology (GPD) and the National Skin Centre (NSC). Dr Tey Hong Liang, Consultant Dermatologist at NSC created the original cream in 2011, and has been tweaking it based on feedback from users.

GPD, co-founded by Humphries and Dr John O’Shea in 2013, is optimistic about the future of Suu Balm since it is an over-the-counter lotion.

“The consumer health sector was growing very strongly. Given the global trend of increasing skin conditions, consumer dermatology is going to be an interesting space in coming years,” Humphries predicts.

Over the last decade, it would appear that there has been an increase in the instances of skin ailments globally. Dr O’Shea contends that this increase might be a function of the improved tracking of skin conditions, but the rapidly changing environment in many countries also plays a crucial role.

The contrast of cleanliness in the home and increased environmental pollution elsewhere is one of the contributing factors. Dr O’Shea says that skin conditions like eczema are not yet fully understood and the environment is one of many factors that could contribute to these conditions.

While environments around the world may be vastly different, the instance of skin conditions and needs of the patient are “surprisingly consistent”. Most of these needs can be characterised as dermatitis — dry, red, itchy and flaky skin. O’Shea and Humphries quickly realised that the consistent nature of these skin conditions and an unmet need worked to their advantage in developing their business model.

The plan is to spread Suu Balm into regional market. China, Thailand, and the Philippines are already underway, and next up are Australia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

They want Suu Balm’s reach to spread…like a rash.