There's a lot that vegetables can do to improve one's health. One company kicks things up a notch by harnessing the potency of broccoli in a pill, believing in the pill as a game changer in the fight against cancer.
Based in Liverpool, Evgen synthesized sulforaphane, a naturally occurring compound derived from the brassica family of greens, which includes cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage and broccoli.
Broccoli has long been known to have health benefits but it was tricky to take advantage of the compound because it is highly unstable. Evgen managed to stabilize sulforaphane without affecting its efficacy, creating the experimental pill Sulforadex in the process.
"It is amazingly unstable and has to be kept at minus 20 degrees. The new excitement is after all this academic work that has been done that somebody stabilized it in a form that can be turned into a medicine. I would have thought there is a reasonable chance that it will be quite successful," said an Evgen spokesperson.
Aimed at treating brain hemorrhage and breast and prostate cancer patients, Sulforadex has already been proven to be safe after it was tested on 47 volunteers. The next step for Evgen is to pursue clinical trials, which it plans to do next year in Seattle in the U.S. and Southampton and Manchester in the UK. To do this, the company is hoping to raise more than $31 million when it floats on the London stock exchange later in December.
Results of the clinical trials will be reported in 2016. Should the brain hemorrhage clinical trial be successful, Evgen can acquire early approval from regulators because it tackles reducing cognitive impairment, classified as a rare disease in the U.S. and the European Union, allowing for some rules to be bypassed.
Founded in 2007, Evgen was started by Barry Clare, former Boots director. Clare sits as the company's executive chairman now, working with Stephen Franklin as chief executive. Franklin ran Provexis previously.
Broccoli is packed with antioxidants, including sulforaphane, and phytochemicals and is also high in fiber and vitamin C. It contains potassium and vitamins A and B6 and is loaded with a good amount of protein given it's a non-starchy vegetable.
The vegetable has the added benefit of being fat-free, having just around 31 calories for every serving. It's low in sodium and great for those who need to be mindful of their salt intake.