Provexis placement to fund Fruitflow, plantain research

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Platelet

Provexis is planning to raise £2.15m (c €3.14) to fund further
development of its Fruitflow heart-health technology and start
trials on its plantain-based technology for Crohn's disease by
placing 143.32m new shares at £0.015 each.

The UK nutraceutical company, whose flagship ingredient is based on compounds contained in the clear fraction of tomatoes that inhibit blood platelet aggregation, entered into a 12-month exclusivity agreement with an undisclosed major food company in July to develop a second generation version. But in November it emerged that the discussions would continue into this year, as more work was needed to optimise the platform. The placement comes as no surprise give the extended time-line. The company said in its interim report for the six months ended September 30 2006 that, although it can realistically expect "significant licensing revenues"​ by the end of summer 2007, it requires further funds to bridge the intervening period. The company is already receiving revenues from its demonstration Sirco juice drink that has been sold at retail in the UK for over a year. Revenues for last reported six-month period were £428,000 (c €636,180) - in line with expectations. But the development of the underlying technology that is currently underway was necessary Sirco uses a thick sugary syrup that is only really suitable for a limited number of applications, like juices. A powder that is 35 per cent more concentrated would open up other categories, including dairy. No indication has yet been given on just how imminent the first products using Fruitflow 2.0 are. But the path is paved for their launch in the US since Fruitflow was affirmed as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) by the Food and Drug Administration in late January. The potential applications for the technology have been carved up into four areas. It is envisaged that the unnamed company would have the rights to one of these: all food and beverage uses with the exception of juice and juice drinks. The second area of use has already been brought to market in the form of Sirco, developed and marketed under Provexis' own steam. Juice and juice drink uses are available for licensing to a third party. The third area is in prevention of deep vein thrombosis, an area in which recent studies have indicated it is effective and in which a patent has been filed. Finally, there has been some interest in using the technology for dietary supplements and over-the-counter medicinal products. As for the patented plantain extract for the dietary management of Crohn's disease, Provexis is developing the food in conjunction with the University of Liverpool, and is also collaborating with a global clinical nutrition company. Last year Northwest Development Agency granted the company a £180,000 (c €263,000) research grant for Crohn's disease technology.

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