OXFORD, Miss. – A natural products chemistry company has licensed the rights for a promising botanical compound from the University of Mississippi and the Agricultural Research Service, which is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
ChromaDex Corp. (OTCBB: CDXC) has signed an agreement for the commercial development of pterostilbene (tero-STILL-bean), a compound found in blueberries, grapes and other small fruits, as well as the bark of some trees. In laboratory tests, it shows promise for improving cardiovascular health, glucose levels and cognitive function.
"Pterostilbene has the potential to be one of the most significant new ingredients the dietary supplement field has seen in a long time," said Frank L. Jaksch Jr., co-founder and CEO of ChromaDex. “Based on the technology we licensed from the University of Mississippi and the USDA, ChromaDex will be announcing the commercial application of this ingredient, marketed as pTeroPure pterostilbene, in the coming weeks.”
Pterostilbene is chemically related to resveratrol, a compound that is plentiful in the skins of red grapes. Resveratrol is thought to be at least partly responsible for the health benefits attributed to drinking red wine, which include cardiovascular health and cancer prevention.
Research chemist Agnes Rimando first encountered pterostilbene when she was a graduate student at the University of Chicago. Rimando works with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Natural Products Utilization Research Unit, housed in the UM National Center for Natural Products Research. When studies in the 1990s suggested that resveratrol provided substantial health benefits, Rimando began experimenting with pterostilbene in hopes of finding similar activity.
In 2003, Rimando asked Dennis Feller, former UM professor and chair of pharmacology, and Wallace Yokoyama at USDA-ARS Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif., to collaborate on studies of the compound, targeting a particular protein in cells that is involved in fatty acid metabolism and transport. Results of their work were presented at the American Chemical Society meeting in 2004 and attracted widespread attention, including coverage on national and international TV and radio stations, and mentions in Time, Parade and other consumer magazines.
The development of pterostilbene as a potential dietary supplement demonstrates the value of collaborations between the School of Pharmacy, NCNPR and USDA-ARS, said Barbara G. Wells, dean of the UM pharmacy school.
"These types of projects allow us to share expertise and help solve problems related to the health and well-being of people everywhere," Wells said. "We actively seek partnerships with other academic institutions and state and federal agencies, and we are pleased that this particular partnership has yielded such encouraging results."
The licensing agreement with ChromaDex is a prime example of how academic research can promote economic development, said Walt Chambliss, UM director of technology management.
"ChromaDex is just the kind of company we want to work with," Chambliss said. "They know the value of our research, and that's the key ingredient in a partnership like this.
"UM and USDA-ARS researchers working at Ole Miss share a common desire to translate research into commercial products. We couldn't be happier about our agreement with ChromaDex. It's just further testament to the ability of our researchers to do work that attracts commercial interest."
ChromaDex Corp., based in California, is a leader in the development of phytochemical and botanical reference standards and the creation of associated intellectual property. The public company is committed to sustainable, "green chemistry" and provides the dietary supplement, food, beverage, nutraceutical and cosmetic industries with analytical tools, products and services.
The National Center for Natural Products Research, a unit based in the UM School of Pharmacy, is the nation's only university research center devoted to improving human health and agricultural productivity through the discovery, development and commercialization of pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals derived from plants, marine organisms and other natural products.
The USDA-ARS Natural Products Utilization Research Unit focuses on discovery of natural product-based pest management solutions and research in support of minor and new crops.
Each year, NCNPR's international conference on the science of botanicals draws eminent scientists from around the world to discuss issues related to the safety and quality of botanical products.
For more information on the USDA-ARS Natural Products Utilization Research Unit, go to http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/usda/usdapage.html, and for more information on NCNPR, go to http://www.pharmacy.olemiss.edu/ncnpr/.
Forward-Looking Statements (ChromaDex Corp.)
Any statements that are not historical facts contained in this release are forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from those projected or implied in any forward-looking statements. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to those related to product or customer demand, market acceptance of our products, the effect of economic conditions both nationally and internationally, ability to protect our intellectual property rights, impact of any litigation or infringement actions brought against us, competition from other providers and products, risks in product development, our ability to raise capital to fund continuing operations, the ability to complete transactions, and other factors discussed from time to time in the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The company undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement for events or circumstances after the date on which such statement is made except as required by law.
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