New Zealand dairy formula maker Bioxyne jumped 36 per cent today after expanding its distribution across south-east Asia in an deal with sales and marketing firm AVSA International.

The deal will see Bioxyne’s products sold to Thailand, Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia and Mauritius – a first order already placed to the value of $266,000.

Shares in the company (ASX:BXN) surged from 6.6c to an intraday high of 9c after the news.

Bioxyne shares quadrupled in December after the probiotic maker announced it as getting into dairy exports.

Infant formula has been one of the ASX’s hottest themes in recent times with the likes of Longreach OilJatEnergy, and Aus Dairy Farms joining more established plays such as a2 Milk, Wattle Health, Bubs and Bellamy’s.

Wattle shares fell today after it announced a capital raising at $1.25 — well below its Friday closing price of $2.26.

“This initiative will give Bioxyne immediate access for its products to a number of growing markets in the Asian region through established direct sales channels,” Chief N H Chua told investors.

“This will allow the company to focus on developing Malaysia, where it has a direct selling licence, and to work on other key markets in Asia.”

In addition to the distribution – Bioxyne has negotiated a call option deed giving the company the right to acquire a 70 per cent interest in the business in each country before July 2021.

Bioxyne’s shares (ASX:BXN) over the past year.

The deal follows the appointment of NZ-based director Peter Charles Hughes-Hallett who is experienced in direct selling in Asia.

“This will augment the board’s skill mix as we continue our planned rapid expansion of direct sales into China and Asian markets,” chair Tony Ho said at the time.

Earlier Bioxyne got the nod to sell a honey, colostrum and milk powder formula into Malaysia — and was seeking an import licence for China.

Colostrum is “a thick, sticky, yellowish mammary secretion that all mammals provide to their newborns during the first 24–48 hours after delivery”, according to a research review called Health Benefits of Bovine Colostrum in Children and Adults.

In recent years colostrum has become popular as a supplement for adults under the proviso that if it makes babies grow, it must also be good for their parents.

The research review suggested trials need to be held in order to find out whether the health claims hold up.