Calcium Formate as a Supplement to Prevent Neural Tube Defects

Life Sciences : Therapeutics

Available for licensing


  • Dean Appling, Ph.D. , Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Jessica Momb , Intern

Background/unmet need

Neural tube defects (NTDs) affect roughly 2,700 infants each year in the United States, according to the NIH. Currently, prenatal folic acid supplementation can reduce the incidence of neural tube defects by as much as 70 percent in some populations. Unfortunately, up to 30 percent of the population may be folate-resistant and thus would not benefit from folic acid supplementation alone.

Invention Description

Dean Appling’s folic acid research team at The University of Texas at Austin has discovered that maternal supplementation with sodium formate decreases the incidence of neural tube defects in a folate-resistant mouse model. Based on these results, formate supplementation could prevent neural tube within the folate-resistant resistant population. Because calcium formate has been shown to be safe for human use, calcium formate included in a pre-natal vitamin could be an ideal vehicle for delivery of formate.

Development Stage

Proof of concept

IP Status