Friday, November 04, 2005

Fruit juice and chocolate to treat heart conditions?

At the same time as doctors are linking the apple-shaped body (ie a pot belly) with increased heart risk, food suppliers are proposing fruit juice and chocolate to diminish heart risk.


UK-based Provexis has gained patent protection in the US for its tomato bioactive that improves circulation, allowing it to target the significant American heart health market.

The company is launching the first functional food using its Fruitflow technology in the UK in January.
The Sirco fruit juice drink will carry the claim that it 'helps to maintain a healthy heart and benefits the circulation'. It will be positioned as heart healthy juice, an emerging category in the functional food market.

Its tomato extract has been proven in human trials to inhibit blood platelet aggregation and thereby reduce the risk of thrombosis, a primary cause of heart attack and stroke.

Sirco will be differentiated from cholesterol-lowering foods already available on the European market as its benefit is derived from blood thinning and is said to have an effect from the first serving.

From the Liverpool Daily Post:

A fruit juice created by a Liverpool company that reduces the risk of heart disease and thrombosis has received a patent in the US.

Medical foods company Provexis will launch Fruitflow products in major UK supermarkets early next year.

Yesterday, the firm revealed that it had now received patent protection across the Atlantic. Chief executive Dr Stephen Franklin said the decision was a "critical development" for the firm.

The patent might seem to be US 6,958,164, the first claim of which states:

A method for the prophylaxis treatment of a condition or disorder mediated by platelet aggregation, the method comprising administering to a patient in need of such treatment, a therapeutically effective amount of a fruit extract having platelet aggregation inhibiting activity, the fruit extract being a water soluble extract of tomato; wherein the extract contains an active fraction having active components that are capable of passing through an ultrafiltration filter having a molecular weight cut-off of 1000, the active fraction containing one or more nucleosides having platelet aggregation inhibiting activity; and wherein the extract has been prepared by a process comprising the steps of homogenizing the flesh of a tomato to form a homogenate and removing solids therefrom to give an aqueous extract.

The priority is as follows: This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/695,739 which was filed Oct. 24, 2000 now abandoned as a continuation of International Application PCT/GB99/01389 which was filed Apr. 23, 1999 and claims priority from GB Patent Application GB 9808796.8 filed Apr. 24, 1998. The entire content of the earlier applications is incorporated herein by reference. [Another example of a continuation application which would not be properly counted by the method of Quillen and Webster; here there would be two continuations, so the grant rate contribution from this would be over 100%.]

The scope of the disclosure goes beyond an extract of tomato:

Methods of prophylaxis or treatment of a disease state initiated by or characterized by platelet aggregation, that employ a fruit extract or active fraction thereof, are disclosed. In one embodiment, the fruit extract or active fraction thereof, is obtained from the fruit of plants of the families Solanaceae, Rutaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Rosaceae, Musaceae, Anacardiaceae, Bromeliaceae, Vitaceae, Arecaceae, Ericaceae and Lauraceae. Pharmaceutical compositions comprising a fruit extract or active fraction thereof having platelet aggregation inhibitory activity are also disclosed.

Separately, Mars obtained US 6,900,241 on Compositions for, and methods of, treating atherosclerosis which comprised cocoa extracts, compounds, combinations thereof and compositions containing the same, such as polyphenols or procyanidins, methods for preparing such extracts, compounds and compositions, as well as uses for them, especially a polymeric compound of the formula An.

The '241 has claims which sound like those of a pharma patent:

A method of therapeutic or prophylactic treatment of atherosclerosis, thrombosis, heart attack, stroke or vascular circulation problems comprising administering to a subject in need thereof an effective amount of epicatechin and/or catechin, wherein the subject is a human or a veterinary animal.

The patent has a lengthy priority history:
This application is a divisional application of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/127,817 filed Apr. 22, 2002 now allowed, which is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/776,649 filled Feb. 5, 2001 now U.S. Pat. No. 6,638,971 application Ser. No. 09/717,893 filed Nov. 21, 2000 now U.S. Pat. No. 6,670,390 both of wich are continuations of U.S. application Ser. No. 08/831,245 filed Apr. 2, 1997, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,297,273, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application No. 08/631,661 filed Apr. 2, 1996, now abandoned, each of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

Reference is made to copending U.S. application Ser. No. 08/709,406, filed Sep. 6, 1996, Ser. No. 08/631,661, filed Apr. 2, 1996, and Ser. No. 08/317,226, filed Oct. 3, 1994 (now U.S. Pat. No. 5,554,645) and PCT/US96/04497, each of which is incorporated herein by reference.


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