Natural product from red seaweed brings new antiviral spray

If doctors were able to conduct efficient genetic analysis at the point of care, using inexpensive, portable equipment, it would revolutionise disease detection and treatment. European researchers are close to enabling this revolution. Today, anybody getting tests done in a GP’s surgery or hospital outpatients will usually have to wait several days before getting any

Full Post: Lab on a microfluidic chip for the GP’s surgery

Marinomed Biotechnologie GmbH has been awarded the top prize in the Mercur 2008 innovation awards. This award to Marinomed honours the discovery of antiviral properties in a natural product and the rapid development of the discovery into a nasal spray for treating the common cold.

The prestigious prize, presented by the Vienna branch of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, was awarded primarily in recognition of the speed at which the biotech company succeeded in turning its discovery into a marketable product. Through close cooperation with a partner company, the firm completed this process in just two years.

Carrageenan - a natural product from red seaweed, which has many uses in the food industry - has been exhaustively characterised. Or at least, that was the thinking up until 2005, when the Austrian biotechnology company Marinomed Biotechnologie GmbH discovered that Carrageenan has far more to offer than was previously thought. Not only does the natural substance provide the nasal mucous membrane with a long-lasting moist protective film (due to its high viscosity), it also protects against infections with common cold viruses. Due to its intimate understanding of the requisite development and approval processes, it took the company just two years to secure approval for a substance based on Carrageenan and its application in an innovative spray. Thanks to a collaboration with the Austrian company Sigmapharm Arzneimittel GmbH & CoKG, this substance is now available in Austrian pharmacies in the form of a nasal spray. It is the first product in the world to target the causes of the common cold.

The judging panel for Mercur 2008, the innovation award presented by the Vienna branch of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, decided to award Marinomed its top prize, worth 10,000 Euros, primarily because of how the company managed its discovery and went on to rapidly develop it.

Andreas Grassauer, CEO of Marinomed, on receiving the award and the development of the antiviral nasal spray: “We are delighted to receive this award because it endorses our concept of learning from nature and then developing products based on our findings. This shows, yet again, that nature offers a whole host of therapeutic and prophylactic substances that have applications in medicine. The skill lies in identifying these substances, characterising them and then developing them into marketable products. Marinomed offers precisely these skills for medical indications such as respiratory infections, allergies and inflammation. Based on test platforms that we have established we were able to identify the antiviral properties of Carrageenan. Our experience in development and approval processes enabled us to deliver a marketable product within an exceptionally short timeframe”. After applying for an international patent, Marinomed decided to work with Sigmapharm Arzneimittel GmbH & CoKG to launch the nasal spray, initially on the Austrian market. The experience the company has gained on the Austrian market is now helping to strengthen its position in ongoing discussions regarding the product’s launch in other countries.

It is not by chance that Marinomed won the Mercur 2008 award for its discovery of an antiviral substance from an organism that lives in a marine environment, as Dr. Prieschl-Grassauer explains: “Given the diversity of species in the oceans, there is a whole range of substances with medical applications just waiting to be discovered beneath the waves. That?s why Marinomed first began characterising substances from the sea. We have continued to develop the test platforms that we use to create profiles of substances. Now we analyse the therapeutic potential of natural substances from a broader spectrum of sources. Our next product candidate could, for example, come from a land-based plant. As our company slogan suggests, we really do have an ocean of ideas”.

The Mercur 2008 award also stands testament to the extraordinary potential of the test platforms used by Marinomed, a company whose know-how is at the cutting edge of science and technology. Several international institutes have already approached the company with a view to commissioning it to characterise their, in some cases, comprehensive collections of potential substances from natural sources.


Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that its subsidiary, Barr Laboratories, Inc. has entered into separate settlement agreements related to ongoing patent challenges for Nasacort AQ (triamcinolone acetonide) nasal spray, Allegra D-12 Hour (fexofenadine hydrochloride 60mg and pseudoephedrine hydrochloride 120mg) extended-release tablets, and Allegra (fexofenadine) 30mg, 60mg and 180mg tablets. As part of the settlements, the

Full Post: Barr announces agreements on Nasacort AQ, Allegra D-12 and Allegra patent challenges

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. has announced that its fully owned US subsidiary, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc., has acquired 100% ownership of Chattem Chemicals, Inc. (Chattem) from Elcat, Inc,. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The Company will apply to regulatory authorities for appropriate clearances, as required. Chattem is registered with the US Drug

Full Post: Sun Pharma acquires Chattem Chemicals, Inc

Mylan Inc. has announced that its subsidiary, Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., received final approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for Fluoxetine Capsules USP, 10 mg and 20 mg. Fluoxetine Capsules, indicated for the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) are the generic version of Eli Lilly’s

Full Post: Mylan Receives Final FDA Approval for the Generic Version of the Antidepressant Sarafem(R) Pulvules(R) Capsules

Titan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that it has received an Office Action from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) rejecting the claims in the Company’s method of use patent application for the use of Probuphine in the treatment of opioid addiction and chronic pain. Probuphine is Titan’s novel, subcutaneous implant formulation in development

Full Post: Titan Pharmaceuticals updates on Probuphine patent application

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. announced that together with its subsidiaries, it has received final approval from U.S. FDA for several Abbreviated New Drug Applications (ANDA). Approval was received for generic hydocodone bitartate with acetaminophen (APAP) tablets. Approval was also received for generic Aredia(R), pamidronate disodium for injection USP, generic Lopid (R), gemfibrozil tablets, USP, and

Full Post: Sun Pharmaceutical receives FDA approvals for 4 generics