July 30, 2013
Plandaí Benefits From the Dangerous Side Effect Profile
of Competing Malaria Drug
It is rare that a story about an anti-malaria treatment would be placed front and center. However, it is not often that a direct correlation exists between the use of an approved drug that can lead to psychotic, violent events and even murder. Nonetheless, this tragic news serves as a major boost to Plandai Biotechnology Inc.’s (OTCQB – PLPL - $0.47 – Spec Buy) anti-malaria treatment efforts.
According to recent news reports, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who is facing sentencing by a military court for killing 16 civilians on a rampage in Afghanistan last year, might have faced a perfect storm of stress, which included the use of mefloquine hydrochloride, an antimalarial drug given routinely to soldiers in that part of the world. Mefloquine was developed by the U.S. military and has been used for more than three decades by the government to prevent and to treat malaria among soldiers and Peace Corps workers. It is estimated that tens of millions are treated with it today.
According to CBS News, the drug’s history of dangerous side effects is just now coming to light. For example, a study of FDA adverse-event reports from 2004 to 2009 published in the journal PLOS One lists mefloquine as a drug that has been associated with violence toward others.
With such negative history, it is clear that the market needs a real alternative with a high degree of efficacy that does not carry a poor side effect profile. This alternative may ultimately arrive in the form of Plandai’s Phytofare™ Catechin Complex. The Company recently announced incredible results from its second round of in vitro testing of Phytofare™ Catechin Complex, used to kill the malaria parasite plasmodium falciparum. The results of this independent investigation confirmed a twelve-times greater efficacy in killing the parasite. It should be noted that in this round the Company elected to use the complete Phytofare™ complex and not just the isolated EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) catechin used in earlier studies.
Clearly, these results show the effectiveness of using a commercial botanical extract, rather than purified extract of EGCG catechin, as an anti-malarial. Moreover, the data may serve as a major boon to treating a disease which potentially impacts hundreds of millions of people and kills 600,000 in the African continent alone. Plus, since the product is derived from a botanical extract, the safety profile is exceedingly high.
Moreover, management plans to complete a commercial delivery system by encapsulating Phytofare™ Catechin Complex into a proprietary nano-delivery system that is expected to deliver improved absorption and protection against gut metabolization, allowing super antioxidants to remain protected and intact until they reach the bloodstream. In addition, further independent scientific investigations of Phytofare™ Catechin Complex in powder and nano-encapsulated forms will be undertaken both in vitro and in mouse models to validate the extract for oral consumption as an antimalarial drug target.
As development milestones occur, it is not hard to envision the Phytofare™ Catechin Complex as a replacement for the potentially dangerous Mefloquine and its generic siblings, for use by tens of millions across the globe.
Senior Analyst: Robert Goldman
Rob Goldman has over 20 years of investment and company research experience as a senior research analyst and as a portfolio and mutual fund manager. During his tenure as a sell side analyst, Rob was a senior member of Piper Jaffray's Technology and Communications teams. Prior to joining Piper, Rob led Josephthal & Co.'s Washington-based Emerging Growth Research Group. In addition to his sell-side experience Rob served as Chief Investment Officer of a boutique investment management firm and Blue and White Investment Management, where he managed Small Cap Growth portfolios and The Blue and White Fund.
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