RENOWNED local scientist Dr Henry Lowe last night delivered on a promise made a year ago by launching what he said was the region’s first indigenous nutraceutical industry with seven products, including his flagship Alpha Prostate Formula 1 made from the Jamaican ball moss or old man’s beard.
At the same time, Dr Lowe announced that an IPO will be launched next year “to give Jamaicans and diaspora members a chance to invest in this lucrative and exciting venture”.
“The potential earnings from this industry can be anywhere from US$500 billion, growing to a trillion US dollars in the next five years,” Dr Lowe told guests attending the launch at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston.
“The question is: are we ready to make the investments required to grow our share of this lucrative industry?” he asked.
Lowe said that in addition to the Alpha Prostate Formula 1 — which is basically a half-way house to the development of the anti-cancer drugs he identified in the ball moss — the other products launched last night were:
* Jamaican Guinea Hen Weed supplement, traditionally used for the management of cancers, arthritis, rheumatism and diabetes;
* Joint Flex Formula supplement, which improves elasticity and movement in the joints and connective tissues of the body;
* Women’s Complete Formula, which supports the mature woman’s overall health and well-being, with added nutrients for menopausal and post-menopausal health;
* Men’s Complete Formula, that supports men’s overall health and well-being;
* Aloe Complex Formula supplement, a mild laxative, which reduces inflammation and enhances colon health; and
* Anti-Stress B&C with Adrenal Formula to maintain the health of nerves.
Dr Lowe said that while many players have, over the years, attempted small-scale development of the products, the difference between previous efforts and that of his and his research partners “is that our nutraceutical product development has been built on solid scientific data and our formulations have been certified according to the FDA-approved guidelines and manufactured under good manufacturing procedures”.
He also said that the office of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has signed off on the relevant certificate of free sale, which gives approval for the products to be sold in the USA or exported to other countries with the blessing of the USA.
“Based on the free-sale certification, the products have also been duly endorsed by the Jamaican Mission in the USA, solidifying the quality of our products and the associated rigorous production and manufacturing standards by which these products have been manufactured,” Lowe said.
The nutraceuticals, which are being marketed under the Eden Gardens brand, are developed by the Bio-Tech R&D Institute which Lowe and his research partners launched last year.
He reminded his audience that the institute’s mandate, as a first priority, is to develop and commercialise nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals and pharmaceuticals from Jamaica’s indigenous medicinal plants.
“As most of us are aware, Jamaica has over 84 of the 160 recognised and established medicinal plants of the world,” Dr Lowe said. However, only two of these, he said, have been commercialised — Ganja, based on the work of Professor Manley West and Dr Albert Lockhart, and Periwinkle, by Canadian scientists.
Lowe said that in approximately one year, he and his partners have been able to move the commercial development to market of Jamaica’s medicinal plants from approximately two per cent to 20 per cent in the nutraceuticals (eight plants) and for medicinal herbal teas (six plants).
He said the project has created more than 30 part-time and full-time jobs, among them non-technical persons, including farmers.
Approximately $12 million has been spent on reaping and processing activities and five PhD scientists, as well eight graduate technical personnel have been appointed to the research team.
“As the project develops, we estimate that the number of jobs will grow by at least 25 per cent,” he said.
“I would like to strongly emphasise that it is our steadfast commitment to produce products that are proven scientifically and biologically to be safe for consumption and effective for the ailments they are designed to ameliorate,” Dr Lowe said. “As such, extensive toxicological studies were carried out on the products, especially Alpha Prostate Formula 1, which showed no significant adverse health-related effects.”
He said, too, that the Bio-Tech R&D Institute is committed to bringing to market at least six additional new products each year.
“We have started to develop, and will have ready for market by late March another, two products — one specifically formulated to assist with the management of diabetes and the other, Noni, as a tonic in a capsule,” said Dr Lowe.