Innovation Connections grant investigates new form of curcumin

Over the next 12 months, NICM researchers will investigate the efficacy and absorption (bioavailability) of a new form of curcumin, called HydroCurc, after securing an Innovation Connections grant worth over $100,000 in partnership with Pharmako Biotechnologies (opens in a new window) and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

The Australian Government's Entrepreneurs Programme, Innovation Connections forms part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda. Designed to encourage innovation and collaboration between Australian businesses and the research sector, Innovation Connections assists small and medium business (SMEs) in establishing their research needs and through grants enables SMEs to fast-track their research and development.

Project investigator and NICM Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dr Mitchell Low says managing chronic inflammation is a promising therapeutic approach in many degenerative and age-related diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory.

“Curcumin, from turmeric, is a well-known natural anti-inflammatory, however it is not absorbed well into our bodies - the problem is that it does not dissolve well in water,” said Dr Low.

“Pharmako Biotechnologies have developed a curcumin product, HydroCurc, that disperses well in water and is absorbed much better by our bodies than current forms of curcumin.

“The main aim of this study is to determine if the new form of curcumin passes the blood-brain barrier where its anti-inflammatory activity may have beneficial effects on neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.”

If found to be effective as an anti-inflammatory drug, HydroCurc could enter clinical trials in a relatively short time period.

Pharmako Biotechnologies’ Co-founder, Eric Meppem says they manufacture materials created through scientific research and innovative product development, and HydroCurc is a great example of this.

“We’re excited about this project with NICM and adding further evidence to our dispersion technology behind the HydroCurc called LipiSperse – which has been listed as a finalist in the NutraIngredients Europe Awards 2019 for Innovation of the Year, and HydroCurc listed as a finalist in the same awards for Sports Ingredient of the Year.”