Norway's Pronova Biopharma, best-known for its fish oil heart drug Lovaza partnered with GlaxoSmithKline, is to expand into the consumer healthcare market, particularly in the dietary supplement area.

The Lysaker-based group said the move will further leverage its position as "the world’s largest manufacturer of highest grade omega-3 derived products". Pronova is initially "targeting the high concentrate dietary supplement market, which is expected to double in size over the next five years".

The new business will offer "substantial synergies" with Pronova's existing pharmaceutical operations, which is based around the blockbuster Lovaza/Omacor (omega-3-acid ethyl esters). Its pipeline is headed by PRC-4016 which is in trials for the treatment of combined dyslipidaemia.

Pronova noted that it has invested $500 million in creating omega-3 manufacturing facilities in Norway and Denmark, and said the initial investment necessary to establish a consumer healthcare business is relatively small. It says that around $10 million over the next year will be used to adjust the manufacturing process to the new unit.

Meantime, Pronova has posted financials for the third quarter which show that revenues were up 10.1% to 392.5 million Norwegian kroner (about $69.7 million). Net income doubled to 43.2 million kroner.