Los Alamos, New Mexico
Allergy relief lollipops, toothpaste, and mouthwash tablets
Han's medical and research background led him to explore the causes of allergies, rather than to look for a way to mask or reduce the symptoms. His son had suffered from allergies since infancy, and that made him curious enough about the causes to begin looking into the research of others. Then in 2014, Han suddenly developed allergies himself, despite having lived in the same area for many years without allergy symptoms.
"At that time, I thought I was the worst allergy sufferer," he says. "It was so bad I couldn't sleep at night. It was painful for three years, and I think that made me put more energy into finding a solution. I'm actually very grateful to have had the experience to understand the mechanics of how the human body works."
With 22 years of experience as a biologist with the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Han had the understanding and ability to scientifically study and document his own allergic reactions in order to better comprehend the human body's responses to allergens. His research led him to the conclusion that a lack of "good" bacteria in the mouth and airways based on oral hygiene methods led to allergic reactions, and so he set about creating a product to correct the problem. The result was a patented nutritional formula to support the probiotics needed to calm allergies.
AllerPops are lollipops containing those nutrients and said to provide long-term relief for allergy sufferers. Currently, the pops are manufactured under contract in China, but the company is in the process of moving production to the U.S. "We plan to have a second manufacturing capacity either in-house, or externally, so that we can have a steady, stable supply chain," says Han. "When we do the manufacturing overseas, whether in China or other countries, the shipping time tends to be too long. When we place an order, it's a minimum of two months to get it, so that's one of the things we're concerned with. There's also a small percentage of our customers that prefer the product be manufactured here, and that's another factor, but it's mainly to stabilize the supply chain and to get the product in a shorter time." Soon there will be a toothpaste, as well as a mouthwash pill designed to further enhance and preserve the benefits of the lollipops, which will be manufactured in-house or by a domestic contract manufacturer.
Currently, the bulk of sales are directly to customers through the AllerPops website, but the product is also available through Amazon and a few small retailers. "We plan to sell to other wholesalers like Walmart and places like that, and that will streamline our process of reaching a broader audience," Han says. "In the last several years, we've really been in the R&D stage, marketing to support the R&D and improve the product. We've verified the product through clinical trials that have lasted almost two years, so from now on our focus will be marketing, marketing, and marketing."
Han continues, "We are the first ones to know exactly what causes airborne allergies and rhinitis. After we discovered the cause, I actually gave a specific term, called 'oral probiotic deficiency,' to the condition. When you correct this, allergies get better, and other conditions related to the immune system get better, as well."
In addition to running the company, Han remains a scientist working on developing the products, now mainly involving modifying the recipe to improve the taste, while other staff members are focused on the sales support and marketing aspects of the business. External marketing partners are assisting with getting the word out on the breakthrough product through conventional media, social media, and other avenues including peer-reviewed journals touting the very positive results of the clinical trials.
Challenges: "Getting people's attention and getting them to believe this is the real deal and it works is very hard work," Hans says. "As an entrepreneur and start-up, this is the first challenge. Now looking at it from the selling side, I see how hard it is. People think that science and R&D are the drivers of society, but I think now that the engine might be the business side, as well."
Opportunities: With positive responses to the AllerPops from customers, and the development of the toothpaste and mouthwash tablets, the company now is looking to market a kit containing all three products to provide short-term and long-term relief for allergy sufferers. Future plans include products to help dogs who are afflicted with allergies.
Needs: "Get more people to know the product and benefit from it," Han says of the company's needs. "That's our main goal in the next several years."