New manufacturing and research structure maintains product quality, facilitates research and fosters continued innovation.
By Andrew Birney, Chief Operating Officer of SL Technology, Inc., a wholly owned Reliv subsidiary
Change is the product of innovation. As Reliv’s innovation engine, SL Technology understands that change is a positive force, especially in the dynamic, fast-paced, ever-changing world of the global nutrition industry. Not only does the technology change rapidly, but so do business relationships and industry objectives.
The past three years have been a whirlwind of change for SL Tech (formerly Soy Labs). Since moving to the Missouri Plant Science Center (MPSC) facility in 2011, Soy Labs has thrived in the culture of open innovation fostered there. Access to the MPSC labs and processing equipment provided the necessary tools to develop and refine the method of production for the first commercially available form of the lunasin peptide.
Another benefit of the MPSC’s open-innovation environment is the promotion of business relationships among Missouri companies for the commercialization of the technologies being developed. The partnership between Soy Labs and Reliv is an example of such collaboration and was the MPSC’s first success story.
Now that the lunasin technology has been commercialized and licensed exclusively by Reliv, SL Technology’s primary goal is to support Reliv’s sales of LunaRich® through new research, applications and marketing strategies. This is a dramatic shift from where we started a few years ago — but we are up for the challenge. The technology agreement is allowing the SL Tech innovation team to focus all of our attention on Reliv and LunaRich, instead of developing new ingredients for multiple customers.
SL Tech is also committed to protecting Reliv’s investment in the intellectual property associated with LunaRich. Recently it became apparent that continuing our research and production in a shared-use facility might compromise the proprietary nature of our ingredients. With that in mind, we decided it was time for another big change and SL Tech has separated from the Missouri Plant Science Center.
“We knew when we came to the MPSC that once the technology was developed and commercialized that we would outgrow the capabilities of the facility, but we never anticipated that it would happen so quickly,” said SL Technology President Ryan Schmidt. “The partnership with Reliv and the creation of SL Technology completely changed our strategic direction for research and business development and necessitated our recent graduation from the MPSC.”
A Higher Standard
Even though LunaRich is now being manufactured in a different facility, which is private and more secure, the source of the raw materials (soybeans) has not changed, and neither has the actual manufacturing process. Reliv still maintains control over the process from seed to can, and the quality, safety, and integrity of LunaRich continues to exceed industry standards.
SL Tech is also moving research operations to a new lab, much closer to Reliv’s headquarters in Chesterfield. This will allow Dr. Alfredo Galvez and Dr. Carl Hastings to work together more closely on new product development, as well as projects to validate the health benefits of Reliv’s current offerings. We continue to hear remarkable health stories from people using LunaRich products, especially the combination of Reliv Now® and LunaRich X™. We are working with research institutions around the country to administer trials that will give us scientific data to validate the results that are being reported.
While the SL Tech team will be on campus at Reliv HQ in Chesterfield on a regular basis, we will continue to maintain offices in Mexico, Missouri. The SL Tech Innovation Team consists of:
- Ryan Schmidt, President
- Dr. Alfredo Galvez, Chief Scientific Officer
- Andrew Birney, Chief Operating Officer
- Tamara Shenouda, Special Projects Manager
- Tina Van Horn, Research and Business Development Coordinator
We are excited to be a part of Reliv’s future and know that, as we grow together, you can expect more changes.
John F. Kennedy sums it up best: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”