Biospherics Inc. (Beltsville, MD), which is transitioning its name to "Spherix," has announced that it has received a Japanese patent for the process to manufacture tagatose. Together with a patent obtained in 1998 covering the use of tagatose as a sweetener, the new patent, valid until 2011, now protects the company's product in Japan.

"The new patent fulfils an obligation we undertook for our licensee, paving the way for broad sales," said company president/CEO, Gilbert Levin, Ph.D. "We still eagerly await the determination of GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status for the use of tagatose as an ingredient in foods in the U.S., the major trigger for commercialisation of our product. Our licensee maintains its confidence in announcing GRAS within the immediate weeks ahead."