PARIS - Thallia Pharmaceuticals plans to launch the first product arising from its collaboration with Rowett Research Institute, of Aberdeen, Scotland, in the first quarter of 2000. It will be a plant extract that inhibits the aggregation of human platelets, and will be marketed as a "dietary supplement for people concerned with maintaining a normal healthy blood flow through the heart and blood vessels."

Lyon-based Thallia, which develops nutraceutical and pharmaceutical compounds from microalgae and other natural substances, entered into a research alliance with Rowett in April in a deal which gave it exclusive rights to a fruit extract that had already demonstrated anti-platelet aggregation activity both in vitro and in vivo. Thallia's CEO, Alain Gilbert, said the company is currently conducting a series of human clinical trials at Rowett to determine the product's bioavailability, structure-function capability, dosing and toxicology. We expect these trials to be completed in the third quarter of 1999."

The product will be launched in different markets following each country's regulatory pathway for dietary supplements. It will be the second product brought to market by Thallia; later this year it will be launching Zeamax, capsules or tablets of dry biomass containing a high concentration of natural zeaxanthin, an antioxidant oxycarotenoid that can help prevent age-related macular degeneration, a condition that leads to an irreversible loss of central vision. - James Etheridge