Hawaii-Born Pill: The Next Wonder Drug?

Discussion in 'Men's Economics' started by cvictorg, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. cvictorg

    cvictorg Member

    Hawaii-Born Pill: The Next Wonder Drug? - Hawaii Business - March 2014 - Hawaii

    A Hawaii biotech startup has synthesized a version of astaxanthin, a drug that might become a powerful treatment for all kinds of inflammatory illnesses ranging from heart disease to diabetes. But first, the company must navigate the possibilities and challenges posed by FDA-required testing, venture capital, Big Pharma and a reverse merger. Success isn’t inevitable, because, as the founder acknowledges, even good ideas can fail.

    For centuries, people around the world knew that chewing on the bark of certain willow trees could ease the pain of a toothache or a migraine. By the mid-19th century, scientists in France and Germany had isolated the chemical, salicylic acid, responsible for willow bark’s analgesic and anti-inflammatory qualities, but it proved too harsh on the stomach to be of real medicinal value.

    Then, in 1897, a German chemist named Felix Hoffmann synthesized a purer, less irritating form of the natural compound. This new chemical, acetylsalicylic acid – better known as aspirin – became the best-selling drug of all time and is still the foundation of the multibillion-dollar corporation we now know as BayerAG.

    In a modest way, a similar story may be under way in Hawaii. Twelve years ago, scientists at Cardax, a small biotech company nestled in the Manoa Innovation Center, synthesized a form of astaxanthin, a naturally occurring chemical found in shellfish and micro-algae and, like aspirin, a powerful anti-inflammatory. The natural form of astaxanthin is already a well-known dietary supplement – sometimes called a nutraceutical – believed by many to reduce the threat of heart disease. Kona-based Cyanotech, for instance, is a major manufacturer. But CDX085 – the latest in a suite of similar Cardax-patented compounds – is so much purer and more potent than natural astaxanthin, and the number of potential uses so much larger, that Cardax’s team believes it may become the next billion-dollar drug. They could be right