Elan’s Deep Thoughts as 2018 Ends


What we experienced as a testing lab over the last 21 years very much reflects developments and trends throughout the industry. Revisit with me what this year has brought and how that will continue in the New Year (Happy 2019, BTW!).

2018 has been another banner year in the realm of growth and staying power for the biggest little lab in the industry. In our efforts to continue providing the industry with expert testing of botanicals, with transparent C of As, and world-class technical support, we overcame many major obstacles, inflection points and threats, again.

We continued to stand our ground with Goliath, and avoided falling prey to consolidation, rendering Alkemist Labs one of the last small, independent labs standing. We just have bigger, slower moving competitors now. This transformation of the industry testing lab landscape is not over and will likely continue into 2019 and beyond with the “one stop shop” labs continuing their acquisition rampage. During this consolidation orgy, we watched from the sidelines, remaining independent and true to our mission. Oh and we moved the lab to a new, beautiful facility, quadrupling our lab space and priming ourselves for the next decade of strong growth.

This major achievement for a privately/family held company in a sea of giant mega labs is nothing but a reflection of the loyalty the dietary supplement industry has towards the Alkemist Labs brand, and the ever-improving adherence to cGMPs our clients demonstrate.

Open dialogue amongst industry leaders about the need for better communication and more transparency in specialized testing needs of novel ingredients has continued as they find their way into almost every finished product on the shelf. This will certainly be continued into 2019 and beyond as the industry matures and begins to be held fully accountable for every ingredient, whether simple or proprietary. Oh, by the way – the FDA is coming to talk to you about this, so be prepared.

Our 21 year old policy on transparency is now being called ‘open source testing’ (OK, we can go along with that new name, especially if it helps make it a common practice!). It may be catching on with the other labs, as auditors and FDA agents continue to better understand the products they are inspecting and ask more detailed questions. We have become friends again with labs that once considered us an enemy of state, now that this practice is viewed as positive and not a threat. Reunited and it feels so good!

Most excitingly, as I mentioned above, is our new facility. We have room for growth again, and love taking our new and old clients for tours. There is nothing better for a new lab than a new lab director, which is why we brought on Dr. Toto Phoutthavantha, who hails from a clinical lab setting. His experience setting up and running efficient and streamlined lab operations ensures that our work will continue to be first-rate no matter what challenges growth throws our way. Come see us! It’s a fantastic facility.

Lastly, our sales have grown from the previous year (thank you, industry, for your compliance with 21CFR Part 111 and continued trust in us). We anticipate finished product formula testing to be the big growth area next year, if rumblings from FDA inspections are the indicator we think they are.

Looming in the background are the tariffs and Trump’s saber rattling or wag the dog or whatever you want to call it. What this is already doing is challenging supply and demand and when that happens, so does adulteration. Now is the time to be diligent with your raw materials. Test test test test!

Whew! I think I need a vacation…

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