In a significant development for Kerala-based Arjuna Natural Extracts Ltd, it has received a patent in the United States on BCM-95, a turmeric extract formulation that could be used to target Alzheimer’s disease.
Explaining the application patent, Benny Antony, Joint Managing Director of the company said, the product is a re-blend of two ingredients in turmeric, but in a ratio that is not seen in naturally occurring turmeric. It is a reblend of curcuminoid and an essential oil of turmeric, he said.
India has in the past blocked efforts to patent naturally occurring turmeric and tulsi (basil) etc, and has even set up a digital traditional library to document known uses of these products. And the reason for that is because a patent gives the patent-holder a monopoly on the sale and manufacture of the product for a fixed period of time.
The BCM-95 product works as a preventive, Antony says, as it targets ß-amyloid, that is seen in large quantities in people with Alzheimer’s and is seen as one of the reasons for the disease.
BCM9 – a mixture of curcumin, the yellow colouring substance of turmeric and an essential oil from the spice – is already available in India. But it is sold as a supplement and does not make therapeutic claims.
The product has been peer-reviewed and is also being studied for various indications including arthritis, diabetes, depression, cancer prevention and treatment, adjutant with chemotherapy and cancer radiation, liver and gastro intestinal diseases etc, company officials said.
He said that the product has already undergone human clinical trials in patients with Alzheimer’s disease at Chinese University of Hong Kong and has found to be highly beneficial in arresting the progress of the disease. It is also undergoing two other human clinical trials in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and subjects at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in Australia.
According to him, there are several curcumin based products in the market now and BCM-95 ranks among the top selling products. The company is awaiting a European patent for the product. The Department of Biotechnology in India had sanctioned around ₹14 crore for a clinical study of BCM95 in the treatment of mouth cancer.
The company, a leading domestic manufacturer and exporter of botanical extracts, also applied for patent for the uses of amla extracts for reducing cholesterol, pomegranate extracts for treating heart disease and extracts of Boswsellia Serrata (Indian Frankincense) for prevention of arthritis and inflammation.