The US Patent Office has awarded a new patent for Zicam Cold Remedy to Gum Tech International, protecting the product's formula and method of use until 2018. Zicam is a zinc gel which has been shown to significantly reduce the duration and severity of the common cold when applied to the nasal membrane.
"This new patent conveys a strong message to the financial community and to competitors regarding the company's ownership of this unique formula and method of treating the common cold," said Carl Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Gum Tech. "Just as importantly, the company intends to continue to pursue available legal protection for an extended Zicam product line to be developed in the future."
The new patent, entitled 'Method and Composition for Delivering Zinc to the Nasal Membrane', expands the scope and definition of the Zicam formula and method of using the product as covered under the original patent. Gel Tech, which is a subsidiary of Gum Tech International, owns the rights for these non-prescription gel products.
"Our goal is to develop unique approaches to the delivery of effective healthcare products to consumers," said Johnson. "The patenting of the Zicam formula carries important implications regarding our ability to meet our goal and develop an exclusive niche in the crowded cough and cold market."
The company said that the product was designed to protect the nasal cavity, the focus of many colds which are caused by the rhinovirus. The zinc gel matrix technology covered in the patent is designed to establish and maintain direct contact with the nasal membrane, preferably for a period of 15 minutes, rapidly delivering zinc in ionic form into contact with the nasal membrane where the rhinovirus attempts to enter the body.
The Zicam delivery system is said to overcome the potential disadvantages of delivering zinc orally, including side effects such as nausea associated with excessive zinc in the intestinal tract. Additionally, the Zicam gel overcomes the difficulties encountered by oral delivery systems, which theorise that ionic zinc attempts to travel from the mouth to the nasal membranes, particularly in the case of congested individuals whose route from the oral cavity to the nasal cavity may be completely blocked, thereby rendering the zinc lozenge ineffective.