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Former UTEP prof. determined to market revolutionary, affordable Alzheimer's drug

Published On: Apr 23 2013 12:16:19 AM CDT
Updated On: Apr 23 2013 12:38:17 AM CDT

ABC-7's Whitney Burbank reports

EL PASO, Texas -

After more than a 30-year struggle, former UTEP Professor Doctor Donald Moss is determined to get his revolutionary Alzheimer's treatment on the market.

Moss found methanesulfonyl fluoride (MSF) could restore memory functions in Alzheimer's patients without the harmful side effects in the early 1980s, but according to Moss, "patent problems" have stymied the drug's development.

According to Moss, he's been battling patent problems since he first identified the value of MSF drug in 1982.

"When I saw the results that showed me that this had this key quality I got really excited," said Moss. "I was completely naive about patents and intellectual property and I went out and and I made a public disclosure without having a patent in place...I made a mistake back then and the University of Texas patent attorneys made a mistake also."

Moss secured a patent for MSF in 1998. Moss said the first large multinational drug company to license the patent discovered it had been filed improperly. Moss said by the time the patent issues were ironed out, the pharmaceutical company had lost interest.

Moss said there were three more attempts to license the patent, two of the companies fell victim to bankruptcy. Moss said most recently, Swiss-based SeneXta licensed the patent in 2008. Moss said SeneXta made substantial developments with the development of MSF, but it was not feasible for SeneXta to keep funding the drug due to the patent's looming expiration date.

"In 2015, it will go off patent," said Moss."Without a patent, a good drug is lost. It will just sink into the sands of time like it never existed."

It seemed the future for MSF was dim until last year. In 2012 Moss reconnected with his old high school classmate, James Summerton, owner of an Oregon-based drug company.

According to Moss, "(Summerton) said, 'Let's make this happen.' So he put in a million dollars of his own money."

Together, Moss and Summerton founded Brain Tools with the hope of getting MSF on the market once and for all through "crowd funding."

"If we could get a million people to give us 3 dollars a piece or 30 dollars a piece," explained Moss. "We'd raise $3 million or $30 million."

Despite the nontraditional funding mechanism, Moss is confident he'll get MSF to Alzheimer's patients, and at the price of a generic brand to boot.

"I can't give up a drug when I know it'll work. I cannot let a drug just be forgotten and this is the last chance we are going to have to make this drug work," said Moss. "if we fail with this effort it will be lost. It will be as though it never existed."

Click here to learn more about the Brain Tools mission. Click here to help fund MSF research.

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