by Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
It had been several years since we talked with Andy Clark about his various entrepreneurial endeavors, but we learned during a recent media event hosted by FoundersForge there was movement on several of them, most notably Lavengel®.
Clark spent 18 years at Eastman Chemical Company before shifting to higher education where, for the last nearly 19 years, he has served as a Professor of Clinical Nutrition and Associate Dean of Research at East Tennessee State University (ETSU). At the Johnson City institution, Clark and his colleagues are involved in research related to the microbiome in HIV/AIDs patients, toddlers of different body mass index, children with failure to thrive, and analysis of macronutrients and hormones in breast milk from women of different body mass index.
That’s his day job. By night, Clark is Chief Technology Officer at RTD Neutraceuticals, LLC (now AOX Biopharma, LLC) in Johnson City. The three letters in the company’s name stand for “road to Damascus,” and “neutraceuticals” refers to the company’s focus on affecting healing through nutrition.
As noted in this February post on teknovation.biz, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently issued a patent for Lavengel®, one of the company’s products that is used against skin infections caused by Staphylococcus bacteria.
“We continue to be surprised about the efficacy of Lavengel® in resolving skin issues in humans and animals,” Clark said in that article, “and have seen effectiveness with insect bites, abrasions, burns, blisters, disrupted skin from radiation, eczema, ‘hot spots’ in dogs, cuts, cold sores, incision lines, MRSA/MRSP infections and numerous others.”
During a follow-up interview, he added, “It’s really phenomenal for burns.” During a clinical trial conducted at Wake Forest Medical School, Clark said that Lavengel® healed 2nd degree burns in a porcine model faster than Silvadene, the current industry standard.
“We will publish the results of that trial soon,” he noted.
Another high potential use for Lavengel® is for those who incur radiation burns during treatment for breast cancer. Clark explains that the breast is particularly susceptible to radiation dermatitis.
“Four women have used a thin film application of Lavengel® two to three times a day, and saw positive results in three to four days,” he noted, saying further research is warranted. Another potential use is as a topical antimicrobial, countering the challenge that sometimes occurs with biofilms. Clark explained that Lavengel® disrupts the biofilm through infiltrating the bacterial membrane which is different from other options.
“People tell us they notice a reduction in pain when applying Lavengel® to burns, shingles lesions and incision lines,” Clark says, adding, “We did not understand why.” We are conducting a rat model study underway where a thermal burn is created followed by treatment with Lavengel®. “We think there maybe something there.”
While Lavengel® is RTD Neutraceuticals most promising product, Clark has also helped to develop several others. AquADEKS, a vitamin supplement for children with cystic fibrosis (Yasoo Health, Inc), Moondance Night Cream was not commercialized, but the Clark’s still make it for their friends. Finally, GlutenShield was rebranded as DigestShield™ and is being marketed by Shield Nutraceuticals, another Johnson City business.
“We continue to research Vitamin D3 supplementation in adults over the age of 50, designing new trials and looking for NIH (National Institutes of Health) funding,” Clark adds.