One of the most interesting contenders Gilead acquired in the takeover of CV Therapeutics was CVT-10216, an anti-alcoholism drug based on the daidzin compound found in kudzu.
CVT/Gilead has been doing some entertaining tests of the drug in rats. According to National Georgraphic, the company introduced rats to sugar water cocktails, and gradually increased the booze content within them -- just like college students who start on Zima. They also set up a rat "bar" -- a special cage -- where the drinks were served.
Once the rats became so addicted they preferred booze over water, the rats were made to dry out. Upon reintroducing them to the "bar," however, the alcoholic rats "frantically looked for liquor whenever they were there," Nat Geo says. Not those treated in the interim with CVT-10216, they weren't as excited.
Gilead's prescription product will have to compete with a range of unregulated kudzu-based diet supplements already on the market. A Harvard entrepreneur is trying to bring a standard diet supplement to market called Alkontrol-Herbal. Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Scott Lukas said:
We took all the over-the-counter kudzu preparations and analyzed them, and none had the amounts of active chemicals they claimed... Most contained none at all.Which tells you all you need to know about the diet supplement industry.