WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa.--July 14, 2003-- BTG (LSE: BGC), the global technology commercialization company today announced the release of data by King's College London supporting the development of a new approach to decrease hypertension (high blood pressure). BTG has entered into an agreement with King's College London to commercialize the technology through licensing to major companies. This technology could lead the way for state-of-the-art beverage and food products designed to reduce blood pressure.
New findings, demonstrated in a study published in the current issue of The British Journal of Nutrition, showed that a sustained low dose of potassium can lower blood pressure, thus decreasing the risk of strokes and cardiovascular disease. These results are timely considering recent studies confirming that hypertension remains a serious problem in many countries. Based on the analysis of government data, researchers from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, and the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, estimate the number of hypertensive adults in the US alone rose during the 1990s to 58.4 million.
Previous research has shown that foods with 10 percent or more of the recommended daily allowance of potassium and a low level of sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and strokes. However, studies had not been able to assess the optimal dose due to the assumption that higher doses would have a correspondingly increased effectiveness. This research from King's College reveals that a low dose (24 mmol/day) is needed to significantly decrease hypertension.
According to a report published by Roper, research has also shown that more than half of consumers in major markets would like to treat conditions such as hypertension with non-prescription supplements and food if properly labeled. Food and beverage manufacturers can apply these findings to supplement foods to provide functional food, or nutraceuticals, available to consumers. Nutraceuticals are not subject to the same medical regulations as pharmaceuticals and see a far quicker advance to market.
"BTG is building on its success of bringing healthcare technology to market as we have done with MRI, cholesterol assay tests, Campath(R), and BeneFIX(R)," stated Anthony V. Lando, BTG's Chief Operating Officer. "As consumer demand increases for foods that also provide a health benefit, we are now complementing our portfolio with innovative functional food and nutraceutical offerings for the food and beverage markets. The supplementation of certain foods such as orange juice with vitamins and minerals represents one of the most rapidly growing portions of the food market."
Donald Naismith, Emeritus Professor at King's College said: "Potassium's health benefits have been known of for some time, but due to difficulties in defining optimal doses, its application has not been exploited beyond recommendations to eat foods naturally rich in it, such as bananas, oranges and potatoes. This new study will enable manufacturers to provide supplemented foods that have been proven to help decrease hypertension."
Findings The study by King's College researchers used a dose level of potassium (24 mmol/day) equivalent to five portions of fruits and vegetables. Comparisons between the mean changes in BP (blood pressure) measurements of the two groups (30 receiving potassium and 29 receiving a placebo) demonstrated that the potassium group experienced a marked and significant decrease in mean arterial pressure (MAP), systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP) when compared with the group given the placebo. The differences in mean changes of BP between the two groups were highly significant and achieved gradually during the length of the study (six weeks). The changes observed in the treated group (7mm Hg in SBP and DBP) are far higher than the mean reported by previous studies or for severe salt restriction (2mm Hg) in hypertensive patients.
Background on Hypertension
Hypertension is a prevalent and remediable risk factor for stroke and cardiovascular disease. The condition is known to affect more than 100 million individuals throughout the world. Hypertension involves an elevation of the blood pressure where systolic blood pressure is above 140 mm Hg, diastolic blood pressure is above 90 mm Hg, or a systolic and diastolic pressure of 20 mm Hg is above normal baseline pressure. The cause of primary (essential) hypertension is not known, but is thought to involve multiple risk factors including familial history of the disease, race, obesity, tobacco smoking, stress, and a high-fat or high-sodium diet in genetically susceptible individuals.
BTG finds, develops and commercializes emerging technologies in the life and physical sciences. These innovations are protected by a strong portfolio of intellectual property that BTG develops and enhances. BTG then captures the value in these technologies through licensing and venturing activities. From the origins of its business in 1949, BTG has commercialized major innovations such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), recombinant factor IX blood-clotting protein, Campath(R) (alemtuzumab) and Multilevel Cell (MLC) memory. BTG is quoted on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol "BGC" and operates from offices in London and Philadelphia, with representation in Tokyo. BTG operates through wholly owned subsidiaries, BTG International Ltd. and BTG International Inc. in the UK and USA, respectively. Further information on BTG can be found at www.btgplc.com.
About King's College London
King's College London is one of the oldest and largest colleges of the University of London with some 13,400 undergraduate students and over 5,000 postgraduates in ten schools of study. The College had 24 of its subject-areas awarded the highest rating of 5* and 5 for research quality, demonstrating excellence at an international level. It is in the top group of five universities for research earnings and has an annual turnover of over GBP300 million and research income from grants and contracts in excess of GBP90 million (2001-2002). For more information, visit www.kcl.ac.uk.