The natural ingredients supplier Unigen Pharmaceuticals (UPI) said this week it is to collaborate with consultants Botanical Liaisons to discover new plants for use in medicines.
The companies will look for new products in countries including Belize, Cameroon, Peru, Tanzania and the United States. Botanical Liaisons will identify, collect and supply medicinal plants with voucherspecimens and traditional information to UPI for research and product development. UPI will then screen the plants for biological activities, isolate and purify the active agents to make them homogeneous and work on developing drug leads and commercial products.
Qi Jia, vice president of scientific affairs for Unigen Pharmaceuticals, said: "The plant collection programme brings ecological, economical and cultural diversities to Unigen's discovery platform and the addition of Botanical Liaisons will extend our reach."
Botanical Liaisons adapts traditional intellectual property into socially sound projects, which it claims are mutually beneficial to native communities and entrepreneurs in the natural products marketplace. The company will also benefit from UPI's research programme, which it is hoped will lead to economic and environmental development of successful botanicals.
UPI and Botanical Liaisons state that they comply with the terms of the 'Convention on Biological Diversity' that allows sharing and recognition of traditional knowledge. Both companies are also committed to conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants indigenous to the source countries.
Unigen, and sister company Aloecorp, are subsidiaries of Univera. Both businesses develop proprietary raw materials from botanicals for use in cosmeceutical, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical products.