SourceOne, KGK fight over heart health ingredient rights

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cholesterol

Two nutraceutical ingredient suppliers have entered a legal battle over the rights to a cholesterol-lowering product after the termination of a licensing agreement between the two parties, SourceOne Global Partners and KGK Synergize.

Sytrinol, derived from citrus peel and marketed for its heart health benefits, was developed by KGK, which holds its production patents. Since the ingredient’s launch in 2003 and until the end of last year, it was distributed globally by SourceOne.

However, in October last year KGK announced it would be taking back the global distribution rights for Sytrinol as of January 1 2009, when the initial distribution agreement came to an end.

Competition clashes

SourceOne yesterday announced that it has filed a lawsuit against KGK, alleging that the company engaged in unfair competition by threatening SourceOne with infringement lawsuits.

According to SourceOne, which filed the federal lawsuit in the District Court in the Northern District of Illinois, its Cholesstrinol family of heart-health formulas do not infringe on KGK patents and trademarks.

KGK responded in a statement that it plans to enforce its proprietary rights, including those associated with Sytrinol. The firm said it may pursue this in a direct suit or by virtue of counterclaims in a “declaratory judgment action brought by an infringer”.

“It is important to our industry that we require companies to respect our contracts, patents and trademarks,” ​said KGK.

PNI moves in

At the end of last year, KGK president and CEO Najla Guthrie told NutraIngredients-USA.com that the distribution transition would be “as smooth as possible”​ for customers, but would not discuss reasons discuss reasons behind the decision not to renew the collaboration with SourceOne.

KGK later announced that New Jersey-based Proprietary Nutritionals Inc (PNI) is the new global distributor of Sytrinol as of this month. PNI’s parent company, Pharmachem Laboratories, is expected to assume manufacturing of the ingredient.

Cholesterol lowering

A powerful antioxidant, Sytrinol is a patented formula combining citrus polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs), alpha, delta and gamma tocotrienols and other constituents which have been shown to lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

A study conducted by KGK​ and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in May 2004 claimed to be the first to show that PMEs can lower cholesterol.

In fact, PMFs were seen to have the most potent cholesterol-lowering effect of any other citrus flavonoid.

According to Dr Elzbieta Kurowska, lead investigator of the study and vice president of research at Canada-based KGK, "we believe that PMFs have the potential to rival and even beat the cholesterol-lowering effect of some prescription drugs, without the risk of side effect".

The risk for a fatal heart attack is thought to be about five times higher in people with a cholesterol level of 300 mg/dL or more than in those with a cholesterol level below 200 mg/dL.

Sytrinol is said to be able to reduce total cholesterol by 30 percent, to reduce LDL cholesterol by 27 percent, as well as to lower triglycerides by 34 percent.

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