The company, which specialises in drugs for cancer treatments, says that its NV-07a compound could reverse photo-ageing, reduce wrinkles and correct damage to the immune system caused by ultraviolet exposure.
"The compound has now been developed as a topical agent to accelerate the skin repair process after UV sun exposure," said Professor Alan Husband, Novogen's head of research. "When applied after sun exposure it antagonizes many of the events which ultimately lead to photoageing - processes that often result from underlying inflammatory changes triggered by UV damage. In addition the agent is able to induce accelerated DNA repair through upregulation of metal metallohthioneins. Thus, while NV-07a was developed initially as an anti-inflammatory agent, we have subsequently been able to demonstrate that when applied topically it has utility as an after sun skin care agent."
To enable NV-07a to be developed as a skin repair product, the compound had to be tested on both animal and human models that had incurred photodamage. This, the company says, necessitated formulation R&D to develop a suitable cream base and the use of controlled UV exposure to defined skin areas to carry out the testing programme.
According to the company the results speak for themselves.
"Many high-end cosmetics brands seek to make skin repair an anti-ageing claims by incorporating functional ingredients," said Professor Husband. "But the science supporting some of these claims has been questioned. Now the availability of NV-07a as a novel, scientifically supported, funcitional ingredient to deliver anti-photoageing effects will provide a market edge for established branded cosmetics."
The new topical version of NV-07a is expected to be produced in Australia. The company says that at this early stage no licensing agreements have been made, but that it is in negotiations with a number of leading cosmetic companies.
The likelihood is that it will appear in high end facial and skin repair creams, as well as creams formulated as adjunctive therapies in the treatment of certain skin conditions such as psoriasis.
Novogen's debut on the cosmetics market could spell a major boost to the its annual AUD 16 million turnover. Although the company has made a number of ground-breaking drug launches it has recently been hampered by a downturn in demand for menopause treatments, a field that it is active in.