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      US drug cos file five patent claims with 'Aarogyapacha' as ingredient

      Posted AtPharmaBiz

      Aarogyapacha (trichopus zeylanicus), hyped as Indian ginseng following the invention of the herbal compound Jeevani, will be soon commercially exploited by the US MNCs with impending launch of some blockbuster cancer and hypertension drugs in the world markets, it is learnt.

      As per documents available with Pharmabiz, at least five US patent claims, some of them international claims, are pending with the United States Patent Treaty Organisation (USPTO) on processes and drug development using herbal extract combinations with Aarogyapacha as the major ingredient.

      The US based Phyto Myco Research Corporation (PMRC), a leader in biopharmaceutical drug discovery and development, claims a method to induce apoptosis (cell death process) in a living cell through a pharmaceutical composition comprising a plant extract compound selected from the group consisting of sclareolide, a sclareolide-like compound, sclareol,and combinations. The list of herbs used for the process to treat cancers, has Aarogyapacha as a major ingredient.

      PMRC's another patent claim, filed in January 2003, is on a method for screening endothelin-receptor antagonist activity and for treating conditions caused by endothelin. Endothelin receptor antagonists are a new class of drugs for the treatment of a number of major diseases, including pulmonary arterial hypertension. The company's R&D pipeline has several pure compounds that are ready for pre-clinical development and nutraceuticals/dietary supplements. PMRC's Pure Compound Library consists of over 350 drug candidates and has already yielded several novel lead candidates, especially cardiovascular, anti-cancer, and anti-bacterial drug leads. PMRC is also developing and expanding its nutraceuticals and dietary supplements programme that has already resulted in several licensing relationships for the pure compounds.

      Global Cancer Strategies Ltd., another US firm, filed a claim in February 2001 on compositions derived from traditional Chinese herbal medicines, medicinal plants (including Aarogyapacha) and extracts for the prevention and treatment of cancers, especially cancer of the lung, esophagus, stomach, oral cavity and prostate as well as for treating Helicobacter pylori infection. The same inventors again registered another patent claim in February 2004 on a process for the manufacture of a herbal composition to be used in a method of treating or preventing cancer, H. pylori infections, chronic inflammatory conditions, cardiovascular diseases or cerebral vascular diseases. Another patent claim filed with USPTO, a process for preparing dry extracts, also mentions about Aarogyapacha.

      The immuno-restorative and energy enhancing properties of Aarogyapacha was accidentally known to the world only in 1991 when a team of scientists led by Dr. P. Pushpangadan, the present director of National Botanical Garden & Research Institute (NBRI) and world renowned ethnopharmacologist, went on a routine botanical expedition to Agasthyar hills. In 1995, the scientists at Tropical Botanical Garden & Research Institute (TBGRI) developed and patented an immuno-restorative and energy enhancing herbal compound Jeevani. The drug hit international headlines following the TBGRI initiative to share the license fee and royalty with the tribal community on 1:1 basis and thus India became the first in the world to recognise the Intellectual Property Rights of a tribal community and thereby implemented the Article 8(j) of the UN-Convention of Biological Diversity. This model of benefit sharing is now widely appreciated world over and referred as TBGRI model or Pushpangadan Model of Benefit Sharing. On the invitation of UNEP, Dr. Pushpangadan made a presentation of this model at UNEP Centre at Geneva. He was awarded the prestigious UN- Equator Initiative Award in 2002 for the same during the UN Summit held at Johannesburg in Aug-Sept 2002.

      Numerous articles on Jeevani and the wonder herb Aarogyapacha had appeared in leading international magazines, especially in the 1985-2002 period. Its potential was acknowledged in prestigious journals like Nature and Time. It may be noted there were allegations during the period that Aarogyapacha was being smuggled in large quantities to overseas countries from Agasthyar hills.

      January 09, 2006


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