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Sep 1, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 15)

EcoBiotics Scours Rainforest for Compounds

Australian Firm Seeks to Unlock Plants’ Secrets with EcoLogic Platform

  • Pipeline

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    EcoBiotics’ EBC-46 has been used to treat equine sarcoids.

    Other compounds derived from plants in the company’s pipeline slow the uptake of glucose, fight off bacterial and fungal infections, prevent inflammation, or protect against neurodegenerative damage. EcoBiotics also develops natural products for ingredients in veterinary nutraceuticals and cosmetics.

    Delco is working to set up discovery programs with pharmaceutical firms and academic institutions to identify and screen more rainforest compounds. The general consensus is that the rainforest is a powerful source of antibiotics and other drugs, but the compounds need to be isolated and tested. Delco also wants to license EBC-46 for clinical development.

    Pharmaceutical researchers have “banged their heads against the wall trying to find new drugs in their libraries through combinatorial chemistry and genomics,” says Delco. These methods, however, have produced few new drugs, and they cannot compete with millions of years of evolution in plants. Rainforest plants hold a vast untapped chemical reservoir of potential products. However, “we have to unlock their chemical secrets, and at EcoBiotics we have found the key to do this,” Delco says.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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