Interview

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Employee Interview

 

Linda Mulder,

Head of Winclove’s Product Development
and Support (PD&S) Department 

Linda Mulder has been working for Winclove for 17 years and manages the PD&S department. Every day this department answers customer questions and works on the development and scientific substantiation of existing and new formulations. We interviewed Linda about how product development has evolved at Winclove over the years.

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Linda Mulder

Where did you start within Winclove?

When I started working at Winclove 17 years ago there were only eight of us and I was the only member of the R&D “department”. My first project was the development of a probiotic formulation to reduce the infection load in livestock facilities and with this, reduce the use of antibiotics. To this end we took samples of chickens’, pigs’ and cows’ faeces and analyzed them in the laboratory. We isolated lactobacilli from the samples and investigated the properties of these strains. Because Winclove did not have its own R&D lab yet, I set one up together with a colleague, Raymond Blankenstein, who is still working for Winclove as well. 

 

So, I started analyzing strains for the animal feed industry, but we soon decided to focus on formulations for humans instead. Our screening options and bacteria collection grew over the years. 

Even though we already had a number of products on the market for human use, the first formulation with specifically selected strains was not introduced until 2002; Winclove 500, a multispecies probiotic intended to improve general intestinal health. We still have this formulation today, and it is one of our best-selling formulations. Developing indication‑specific probiotics, is something we are still doing.

How was PD&S established?

I wrote up reports on the bacteria screenings in the lab. Pieter, who was then our director, thought I was a good writer and should write more. I then started writing background stories and rationales for our formulations, the so-called research letters. One of the first research letters dealt with the various strains in our formulations (multispecies) and explained what distinguished our formulations from those of other manufacturers. I also accompanied Pieter on visits to customers. I investigated the questions asked by our customers and I am still doing this today – but now with my team! 

 

 

 

 

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Winclove's current PD&S team

How can PD&S help customers these days?

Winclove’s PD&S department consists of six people, including myself. Customers can ask us any formulation-related questions. These can be technical questions about the formulation, but also questions relating to registration and literature, to what can and cannot be included on the packaging, etc. We are also happy to help customers position their products and explain why Winclove’s formulations are so beneficial.  In addition, we make sure, together with the Innovation Department, that Winclove’s pipeline is filled with new formulations. For instance, we recently developed formulations for urinary tract- and upper airway infections, and we are currently looking into a formulation with our Probionibacterium freudenreichii  W200. We have upgraded this strain so that it now produces more vitamin B12.

 

 

What do you appreciate most about the probiotics developed by Winclove?

I personally think it is excellent that we screen the strains incredibly carefully and know very well which functional properties they have. For example, we know whether and, if so, which pathogens they inhibit, how they affect immune responses and what effect they have on the barrier function. Based on this we select the most suitable strains for a certain indication. But this is not the only thing we do; we then also check through clinical studies whether the formulation is effective. In other words, Winclove’s formulations are of such high quality because they are well-substantiated. I am really happy to work for a company which values quality so highly.

 

 

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Ecologic Performance is used by many of Winclove's "athletes"

Do you use probiotics yourself?

Yes, I use them regularly. I always keep a supply of Winclove 505 (Adult) as a maintenance product, for instance for when I feel a cold coming up. In addition, I regularly take part in long-distance runs and during training periods before races I use Ecologic Performance. My bowels really start protesting when I run often and do long distances, and Ecologic Performance truly helps keep this under control. I am a real fan of this formulation. (can be confirmed by the editor)

Which question is asked most frequently?

The most frequently asked questions are about the rehydration time of the bacteria, and questions like why the formulations contain minerals. In response to these questions we explain that those minerals are included as part of the Probioact Technology and that rehydration of the formulation is intended to ensure that the bacteria are more active in the intestines and thus create a more effective product. We get many questions about more regulatory-type affairs as well, such as the declaration of allergens on the packaging. And of course we receive a great number of questions about the background of our formulations; my department is still drawing up great rationales and informational documents. We like to help partners better understand our formulations, so if you have any questions, please send them through!

  

 

  

Employee interview Winclove

5/13
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