SOURCE: Health Enhancement Products, Inc.

March 17, 2014 09:38 ET

Health Enhancement Products Announces Start of Canine Joint Health Testing and Phase Two Synthetic Development Program

KEEGO HARBOR, MI--(Marketwired - Mar 17, 2014) - Health Enhancement Products, Inc. (OTCQB: HEPI), a Michigan-based biotech firm investigating bioactive compounds extracted from algal cultures, is pleased to announce the kickoff of a study to gauge the efficacy of its candidate compounds in addressing canine joint health, a condition that affects the quality of life for millions of pet and working dogs around the world. The canine joint health supplement market segment represents $300 million in annual sales in the US alone.

Contract research organization Charles River, sited in Montreal, Quebec, will be conducting the study on behalf of the Company. The firm conducts large-scale clinical studies for a variety of institutions, both public and private. The study has been contracted, and preparations are underway for an immediate start.

With the results of this study and data from a parallel canine study being conducted by Covance and other, previous findings, the Company intends to approach brand-name animal health companies with the intent to jointly develop a canine dietary supplement, and potentially a future pharmaceutical treatment to protect cartilage.

This follows the Company's stated strategy of entering into collaborative agreements with larger, well-established partners early in the development cycle, hastening the process of introducing naturally-derived products to market. In December of 2013, the Company executed a collaboration/option agreement with a global animal health company to accelerate the validation of a potential bovine mastitis treatment.

The canine studies provide an opportunity to further validate the production processes which create the natural bioactive compounds, and at the same time, test the suitability of synthetic molecules in development. The natural bioactives are closely-related small molecular entities (SMEs) with similar structure and bioactivity, previously validated in various experiments conducted by independent researchers at universities and private laboratories. As disclosed previously, the Company believes these discovered SME's to be bioactive, and is using the synthetic molecules to prove out the structure of the natural compounds. The Company kicked off a synthetic development program in mid-September of 2013. Early testing showed mixed results, and the Company's research chemists are now starting a new phase of development.

"Synthetic development is a big step, but to our advantage, it serves two purposes," stated Amy Steffek, Ph.D., Health Enhancement Director of Research & Development. "We work to validate the 3-dimensional structure of our natural compounds, and to create a lead compound for further development by our pharma partners. As a small biotech, we don't have the resources to take a lead compound through the entire drug development process. The strategy is to conduct early validation, get the intellectual property protected and license the lead compound to a larger entity better positioned to take it to the finish line."

Early results for the canine joint health study are expected in May.

About Health Enhancement Products, Inc.

Health Enhancement Products, Inc. (OTCQB: HEPI) is a Michigan-based biotech company engaged in the investigation of the health benefits of bioactive compounds derived from its proprietary algal cultures, and the development of natural bioactive compounds for use as dietary supplements and food ingredients, as well as biologics and synthetic candidates for medicinal and pharmaceutical applications in humans and animals, specifically focused on autoimmune modulation.

Safe Harbor Statement

Except for any historical information, the matters discussed in this press release contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ from those indicated in the forward-looking statements, including the timing of completion of a trial, actual future clinical trial results being different than the results the company has obtained to date, and the company's ability to secure funding. Such statements are subject to a number of assumptions, risks and uncertainties. Readers are cautioned that such statements are not guarantees of future performance and those actual results or developments may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information or otherwise.