Provexis signs partner for plantain-based Crohn's disease product

By Dominique Patton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Ulcerative colitis Gastroenterology

Nutraceutical developer Provexis has entered into a collaboration
agreement with an unnamed 'leading' clinical nutrition company to
create a food containing its plantain extract for people with
inflammatory bowel diseases.

The company, which is close to launching its tomato-based drink for heart health in UK supermarkets, says the bioactive plantain extract will be marketed to extend remission in patients suffering from either Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. These chronic inflammatory diseases affect approximately one in 400 people in the western world. Crohn's is currently incurable so patients mainly seek to control the inflammation, relieve symptoms and prolong remission time. The discovery that certain plantain components could potentially reduce inflammation in the digestive tract was made by gastroenterology specialist Professor Jon Rhodes at the University of Liverpool. Rhodes and colleagues have proposed that Crohn's disease is a macrophage disorder, either genetic or acquired, which sees the body's own bacteria attack the gut lining causing an inflammatory response. After screening a number of natural products, the researcher found that soluble fibre from the plantain, or non-starch polysaccharides, stops the intestinal lining from attracting bacteria that are thought to contribute to the inflammatory episodes. Further support for the product comes from epidemiological evidence showing that many of the countries where plantain flour is a diet staple have a low incidence of Crohn's disease, although the plant has not been significantly investigated for its health benefits. Under the new agreement, Provexis will begin clinical trials next year on a food containing the plantain extract that will be formulated and produced by its new partner. The clinical nutrition company will have the option of exclusive rights to the product's manufacture and distribution following the trial, although Provexis is not obliged to enter into such an agreement. The nutraceutical firm owns or has licensed all intellectual property on the product, including the industrial formulation of the medical food and pre-clinical trials done at Liverpool university. External links to companies or organisations mentioned in thisstory: Provexis

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