Jaguar chief of sustainability and ethnobotanist Dr. Steven King speaks to Forest Trends about pharmacy of the forest, the power of Indigenous and local community knowledge, and the importance of corporate responsibility
Over the last 30 years, the Jaguar team and partner organizations have substantially invested in developing the first and only oral plant-based prescription medicine approved under FDA Botanical Guidance while setting a standard for sustainable harvesting
SAN FRANCISCO, CA / ACCESSWIRE / June 22, 2020 / Jaguar Health, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:JAGX) chief of sustainability and ethnobotanist Steven King, Ph.D. was featured on Forest Trends' Viewpoints, discussing the ancient and powerful medicinal knowledge of Indigenous peoples and local communities in the Amazon Rainforest, the importance of understanding, respecting and conserving this vast body of wisdom along with the rainforests, and the pioneering fair-trade tree-to-bottle development of Mytesi® (crofelemer) - a non-opioid oral plant-based medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for noninfectious diarrhea in adults patients with HIV/AIDS on antiretroviral therapy. Crofelemer, the active ingredient in Mytesi, is a plant-based drug extracted and purified from the red bark sap of the Croton lechleri tree found in the Amazon Rainforest. The article can be accessed by clicking here.
Dr. King, who also oversees ethnobotanical research and intellectual property at Jaguar, spoke with Beto Borges, director of the Communities and Territorial Governance Initiative for Forest Trends, a non-profit organization focused on driving a just and climate-secure future. Forest Trends has pioneered the idea that creating economic value in our forests and natural ecosystems is one of the most powerful incentives for sustaining them.
"It was a pleasure to join Beto to discuss the 30-year development history of Mytesi and the Croton lechleri tree's rich history of medicinal use by Indigenous peoples and local communities in South America," Dr. King said. "Our team - under the leadership of Jaguar Health's CEO Lisa Conte first at Shaman Pharmaceuticals and now at Jaguar - as well as partner organizations have invested substantial funds to bring Mytesi to market as the first and only oral plant-based prescription medicine approved under FDA Botanical Guidance while setting a standard for responsible harvesting, including planting two new trees for every tree harvested. Since 2001, approximately 800,000 trees have been planted. A close, positive relationship with Indigenous and local communities and sustainable harvesting is the right thing to do and makes good business sense." To view the investments made to support the development and commercialization of Mytesi, click here.
A non-opiate antidiarrheal indicated for the symptomatic relief of noninfectious diarrhea in adult patients with HIV/AIDS on antiretroviral therapy, Mytesi is marketed by Jaguar's wholly owned subsidiary Napo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Napo's mission is to discover and develop novel, safe, and effective plant-based prescription medicines that relieve chronic, life-altering gastrointestinal conditions, while also ensuring that the local and Indigenous communities benefit from the harvesting and reforestation of the Croton lechleri tree. The company is also developing crofelemer as a potential treatment for cancer therapy-related diarrhea in humans and chemotherapy-induced diarrhea in dogs.
"Especially on World Rainforest Day, we need to recognize the unique and powerful knowledge traditional peoples have about plants, ecosystems, interrelationships and healing compounds. This knowledge has led to drug products that have changed the world, such as quinine did for malaria," said Dr. King. "Studies have shown that a couple of hectares of forest has more utility value for food and medicine and products than it does being harvested for timber. The forest itself can generate far more economic value over time if it is not used for short term gain. Harnessing the medicinal knowledge of traditional peoples is a vital part of the formula for preserving these important ecosystems."
During the interview with Forest Trends, Dr. King also discusses Napo's efforts to develop a second‑generation, plant-based anti‑secretory prescription medicine, lechlemer, for the symptomatic relief of diarrhea from cholera. Lechlemer, which is a drug candidate under FDA botanical guidance, is a proprietary Napo botanical extract that is distinct from Mytesi but also derived from the red bark sap of the Croton lechleri tree.
Dr. King has served as Jaguar's chief of sustainable supply, ethnobotanical research and intellectual property since 2004. Prior to that, he served as the vice president of ethnobotany and conservation at Shaman Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Dr. King has been recognized by the International Natural Products and Conservation Community for the creation and dissemination of research on the long-term sustainable harvest and management of Croton lechleri, the widespread source of crofelemer. He is currently a member of the board of directors of Healing Forest Conservatory, a California not-for-profit public benefit corporation. Dr. King holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in biology from the City University of New York (CUNY), and he received the first doctoral fellowship granted by the Institute of Economic Botany of the New York Botanical Garden.
About Forest Trends
Forest Trends works to conserve forests and other ecosystems through the creation and wide adoption of a broad range of environmental finance, markets, and other payment and incentive mechanisms. The nonprofit organization's Communities and Territorial Governance Initiative partners with Indigenous and other forest communities on innovations to secure their rights, livelihoods, and cultures through a strategy built on advocacy, economic self-determination, and cultural integrity.
About Jaguar Health, Inc.
Jaguar Health, Inc. is a commercial stage pharmaceuticals company focused on developing novel, plant-based, sustainably derived gastrointestinal products on a global basis. Our wholly owned subsidiary, Napo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., focuses on developing and commercializing proprietary plant-based human gastrointestinal pharmaceuticals for the global marketplace from plants used traditionally in rainforest areas. Our Mytesi® (crofelemer) product is approved by the U.S. FDA for the symptomatic relief of noninfectious diarrhea in adults with HIV/AIDS on antiretroviral therapy and the only oral plant-based prescription medicine approved under FDA Botanical Guidance.
Mytesi (crofelemer) is an antidiarrheal indicated for the symptomatic relief of noninfectious diarrhea in adult patients with HIV/AIDS on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Mytesi is not indicated for the treatment of infectious diarrhea. Rule out infectious etiologies of diarrhea before starting Mytesi. If infectious etiologies are not considered, there is a risk that patients with infectious etiologies will not receive the appropriate therapy and their disease may worsen. In clinical studies, the most common adverse reactions occurring at a rate greater than placebo were upper respiratory tract infection (5.7%), bronchitis (3.9%), cough (3.5%), flatulence (3.1%), and increased bilirubin (3.1%).
See full Prescribing Information at Mytesi.com. Crofelemer, the active ingredient in Mytesi, is a botanical (plant-based) drug extracted and purified from the red bark sap of the medicinal Croton lechleri tree in the Amazon Rainforest. Napo has established a sustainable harvesting program for crofelemer to ensure a high degree of quality and ecological integrity.
Certain statements in this press release constitute "forward-looking statements." These include statements regarding the development of possible Mytesi (crofelemer) follow-on indications and development efforts related to lechlemer. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terms such as "may," "will," "should," "expect," "plan," "aim," "anticipate," "could," "intend," "target," "project," "contemplate," "believe," "estimate," "predict," "potential" or "continue" or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions. The forward-looking statements in this release are only predictions. Jaguar has based these forward-looking statements largely on its current expectations and projections about future events. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this release and are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions, some of which cannot be predicted or quantified and some of which are beyond Jaguar's control. Except as required by applicable law, Jaguar does not plan to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements contained herein, whether as a result of any new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise.
Jaguar Health, Inc.
SOURCE: Jaguar Health, Inc.