Cleveland biotechnology company Sulfagenix has secured a key patent related to its efforts to develop hydrogen sulfide prodrugs (inactive drug precursors converted into active form in the body by normal metabolic processes).

Founded in 2011, Sulfagenix will initially focus on demonstrating the viability of its lead product, SG1002, administered orally as a medical food to overcome the nutritional deficiencies associated with lack of dietary sulfur, initially for heart failure. Patients with congestive heart failure have been shown to be deficient for circulating levels of hydrogen sulfide. Company officials believe that SG1002 will provide a safe and effective means of increasing these circulating levels.

Sulfagenix President & CEO Anthony Giordano said via email the company is currently virtual and raising Series A financing, but he projects up to 15 employees by 2016. Giordano also is President & CEO of Theravasc, a Cleveland drug development company.

“Through our work and the work of others, we know that hydrogen sulfide therapy is very effective at preventing and treating cardiovascular disease in a variety of animal models,” said Dr. John Elrod, Assistant Professor at Temple School of Medicine and a co-founder of Sulfagenix. “We now also know that sulfur plays an important role in numerous other diseases associated with oxidative stress, including cancer and diabetes.”

The products covered in the patent were developed by Mexican company Nuevas Alternativas Naturales Thermafat, S.A. de C.V. The patent portfolio relating to these products, including this issued application, was licensed exclusively to Sulfagenix for use in all fields. Additional patent applications covering many other aspects of Sulfagenix’s platform are pending in the U.S. and abroad.

photo source: PNAS