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SCD Probiotics continues to expand KC operations

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Web Producer: Leslie Collins

SCD Probiotics is continuing to expand and recently added one more success: a roll-out of its product in 5,000 CVS pharmacies nationwide.

The Kansas City-based company shipped its human health product Essential Probiotics to CVS this month, and the product is expected to hit store shelves on May 9. This is the first time SCD Probiotics will have one of its products available in CVS stores.

SCD Probiotics approached CVS with the help of its business development manager, Steve Stecklein, who previously worked with CVS on product placement at a different company.

"He told us that if we were lucky, we might get in the store in 18 months just because of how long it takes for them to make a decision and get set up in their system," SCD Probiotics CEO Matt Wood said. "We pitched to them last year in October ... literally within the first 10 minutes of the presentation, they said, 'We want to launch it nationwide and how fast can you do it?'"

Not only will this create a pipeline to pitch other products to CVS, it also creates an opportunity to be picked up by other stores, said Wood. SCD Probiotics recently signed a contract with, owned by Walgreens, and plans to present to Rite Aid next month.

While probiotics on CVS shelves currently come in powder or pill form, Essential Probiotics is a shelf-stable liquid that uses certified raw organic materials and consortia technology. Consortia technology is "closer to nature" and fosters the growth of multiple microbes that coexist, Wood said. Instead of containing one probiotic strain like a number of products on the market, Essential Probiotics features 11 live probiotic strains, also known as "good bacteria," which restores the balance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract and promotes a healthy immune system. The product will cost about half as much as the leading brand at CVS, he said.

"We decided to sell the product at the lowest price we could afford, so more and more people could access it," Wood said.

More than human health

SCD Probiotics, which ships its products globally, doesn't solely focus on human health products. It also produces sustainable solutions for home and garden, agriculture, livestock health, industrial waste and bio-remediation and aquaculture applications. The company's largest area of growth stems from its line of biochemicals for leather tanning manufacturers and its probiotics for horses. Wood said he's hoping to see more growth in the U.S. in the human health probiotics lines.

Multimillion dollar expansion in Kansas City

Less than a month ago, SCD Probiotics moved into its new headquarters at 1710 Walnut St., the former headquarters of Fishnet Security. The new space is 10,000-square-feet and provides 5,200 more square feet than its previous location at 17th and Main streets. SCD Probiotics also expanded its warehouse and distribution facility, adding an additional 9,000 square feet.

Wood said the company is making $3.4 million in new investments in 2014. Beyond the headquarters expansion, the company is investing more in its sales and marketing department as well as product development and research.

SCD Probiotics currently employs about 40 people, which is double its size from two years ago. Wood said the company will add about 40 more jobs over the next several years.

Asked how the probiotics industry has changed over the years, Wood said more people, including doctors, are recognizing the benefits of probiotics. More doctors are prescribing probiotics for patients, and patients are spreading the word of the bacteria's positive effects. The world is also beginning to recognize that probiotics aren't just for humans; they can be used for livestock, pets, in agriculture, among other areas.

"I started this company in my garage in college at MU in 1998, and back then, very few people had heard of the idea of applying live bacteria," Wood said. "Most people thought of bacteria as something that should be killed and sterilized. It's amazing how far things have come in 18 years."