The UK’s Phytopharm, which is developing medicines as well as functional foods, has provided an update on its pipeline through the fiscal first quarter ended December 2007 which the firm says is progressing nicely.

The company noted that there have been “no significant changes” in its financial position since an audited report in September which revealed that Phytopharm has cash and equivalents of just over £2.2 million.

In terms of its pharmaceutical products, chief executive Daryl Rees said that Cogane for Parkinson’s disease and Myogane for Lou Gehrig’s disease, continue to make good progress “and we are now beginning to benefit from the strategic financial support of charitable organisations for the further development of these products”. For Cogane, Phytopharm recently received nearly $1.2 million in funding from the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research to support preclinical studies designed to determine the optimal dosing requirements for the product.

Mr Rees added that “this non-dilutive funding will reduce our net development costs and cash burn while increasing long-term shareholder value”.

Also making good progress are Phytopharm’s weight loss management products based on the appetite-suppressing Hoodia extract. Partnered with Unilever, the firm is going through the final development stage prior to registration and commercial launch.

Fake Hoodia sold on net
Phytopharm and Unilever also noted that they have become aware of many companies that are selling products over the internet and in some stores claiming to contain Hoodia and causing weight loss. They said that “analysis of these products has demonstrated that the great majority of them contain little or no Hoodia…and contact has been made with the relevant authorities”. The companies added that they are “satisfied with the progress being made to limit these activities”.