Green tea company branching out from Georgia Regents University

What began as a gum based on green-tea antioxidants is now a small shelf full of products that could soon be sold nationwide.

The future growth prompted Camellix LLC to move out of a biobusiness incubator at Georgia Regents University to a small office and warehouse in Evans.

“On the university campus, we have a nice research lab,” said Camellix Chairman and CEO Stephen Hsu. “We were in a very small operating system. However, as we grow, we have all of these products coming in and then we’re sending them out, we felt there is a need for a warehouse connected to the office.”

The company recently signed a deal with Cardinal Health that could give it access to 5,500 retailers, said Tracy Wang, the CFO and senior vice president.

The products, which include a dandruff shampoo, a hair-thickening shampoo, cold sore products and a complete line of rinses, spray and lozenges to combat chronic dry mouth, is also based on Hsu’s research into phytochemicals found in green tea. The most powerful and most widely studied is called epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG.

Green tea components have been the subject of more than 3,000 studies worldwide and several hundred clinical trials, Hsu sad. A recent review found studies that showed EGCG is not only an anti-oxidant but it can help prevent cells from mutating, from proliferating and can be effective against viruses and bacteria. EGCG appears to be involved in a number of major signaling pathways, both outside and inside the cell.

In patients with chronic dry mouth, for instance, it appears to interact with the natural defense system of enzymes already present in the mouth. When that system is weakened, damaging free radicals can disrupt the fine-tuned system the mouth uses to normally produce saliva and damage DNA to the cells, which further lowers the defense system in a kind of a “feedback loop,” Hsu said. Damaged cells can also cause an inflammatory reaction and all of that affects the ability to produce saliva, Hsu said.

“Anything disrupting that system will cause a significant decrease in saliva flow. What we found is that the molecules from the green tea that we study can actually mobilize these levels of antioxidant defense enzymes and therefore decrease the damage to the DNA” of those cells.

The company had the evidence from cellular and animal studies but just completed a clinical trial in humans. Although the data can’t be released because it hasn’t been published, Hsu is very excited about the results.

“The clinical result is just so good,” he said. “It is much better than anything on the market, prescription even.”

The important factor is it is restoring what should be there in the first place, Hsu said.

“There’s nothing better than your own saliva,” he said.

And while it’s based on the green-tea technology, it is also important to note what is not in the products, Hsu said.

“All of these are natural, effective, without any toxic ingredients,” he said.

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