Prevagen set to tackle the anti-aging market

By Clarisse Douaud

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Protein

Quincy Biosciences has announced its long-awaited jellyfish
supplement Prevagen is ready to be sold - a development that could
make waves in the anti-aging supplement market.

The Wisconsin-based company started up 12 years ago after founder and president Mark Underwood had noticed in his academic research that jellyfish use aequorin as a protective protein.

The fledgling research and development company set about testing the protein for its effect on Alzheimer's, but changed courses when they saw the ingredient had brain cell protective functions on mice.

"It's really a simple science - Prevagen replaces proteins that have been lost," Underwood told NutraIngredients-USA. Studies at Quincy's lab at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee have shown a reduction in cellular death of up to 50 percent when treated with Prevagen.

"We've done developing it, it's ready for market," said Underwood.

"We've shown that by taking it, brain cells are protected."

The supplements are being launched through retailers nationwide Sept 1, 2007, and Quincy is backing this up with a full television advertising campaign.

The patent-pending supplement has been lengthy to bring to market because of initial supply issues.

After discovering the calcium-binding properties of aequorin, it turned out that two tonnes of jelly fish were required to make just 125 mg of aequorin, or one supplement.

"We had to create a process that allowed it to be created in bulk," said Underwood.

Quincy devised a method to produce the protein through an expression system - meaning no jellyfish are actually necessary anymore to make Prevagen.

The company says its product had been met with great interest for a long time before it was even scheduled to go to market.

"A lot of consumers were demanding it in excess of our production," said Underwood.

However, Underwood assures that Quincy is making no false promises surrounding extended lifespan or miracle cures.

The health-supporting concept behind the product is that it helps with the aging process by protecting cells.

The idea is for Prevagen to be taken after 40 years of age, as this is when people start experiencing the first decline in these proteins.

"As we grow older, our brain cells are more susceptible to death without these proteins," said Underwood.

After the company plans to take Prevagen nationwide this year, it will launch it internationally in the next year.

So far the ingredient is only coming in branded finished product form, but Quincy is looking to eventually bring it to functional foods as an ingredient.

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