Evolva (SIX: EVE) announces that it has just signed a license agreement with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that grants Evolva the exclusive worldwide patent rights to develop and commercialise nootkatone for the control of a wide range of disease and virus vectors such as ticks, mosquitoes, fleas, flies, lice, bed bugs, and other biting insects.
Evolva announced just recently that it is expanding its nootkatone research focus to include the mosquitoes that transmit Zika and other viruses. This expanded focus is included in the comprehensive Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) now in place between Evolva and the CDC. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently declared Zika virus a global public health emergency. Nootkatone could play an important role in the global response to the spread of Zika.
CDC research has shown nootkatone both repels and kills the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, and the black-legged tick, Ixodes scapularis which transmits Lyme disease. Nootkatone appears to have a mode of action distinct from that of currently used pesticides and therefore could potentially be valuable for mitigating pesticide resistance in mosquito vectors. Nootkatone already occurs in the natural environment and has an established track record as a flavor and fragrance ingredient, providing attractive characteristics in a number of respects.
Nootkatone can be extracted in minute quantities from the skin of grapefruit or the bark of the Alaska yellow cedar (also known as the Nootka cypress), or produced on an industrial scale from brewing via yeast fermentation. Evolva is currently performing all necessary safety and efficacy studies to get nootkatone approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency, initially as a repellent against the blacklegged tick.
“We now have the tools in place to accelerate the research and commercial development of nootkatone as a next-generation pest control compound against a broad range of biting insects, including the mosquitoes that transmit Zika, chikungunya, dengue, and West Nile viruses,” said Evolva CEO Neil Goldsmith