During Brett Favre’s push to develop a cream to prevent concussions, the Hall of Fame quarterback was part of multiple conversations about the testing of the product on animals, a source with knowledge of those talks told Front Office Sports.
At least one of those discussions included a roadmap laid out to investors for the creation of the PreVPro cream, where Favre heard that animal tests would be used before the product would be mass produced — much of which was funded by money received from Mississippi’s welfare agency.
“There is no way Brett didn’t know about what was going to happen with the testing,” said the source who spoke to FOS on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation into how the welfare money was used. “The testing was done because Brett thought he was going to make millions off [the cream], and they wanted to give it legitimacy through those tests. He was walked through every step of the process.”
Another source who had conversations with Favre at the time told FOS that “of course” Favre understood the plan to validate the cream’s effectiveness for marketing reasons via dog testing.
Favre was mentioned four times — including under “executive leadership” — in an investor presentation that stated that Prevacus subsidiary PreSol “completed two dog studies to demonstrate entry into the brain.”
A representative for Favre’s lawyer told FOS previously that Favre had no role in the testing related to PreVPro, a product that was a reformulated version of an analgesic cream like Bengay or Aspercreme.
Favre was not present at dog tests, nor involved with coming up with the protocols for them. But there’s no mistaking Favre was the one who brought the cream’s idea to Prevacus as FOS reported last month.
Favre pushed for its development to executives at Prevacus, which received about $2.2 million in welfare funds. Favre denied knowing the Mississippi funds came from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, federal funds earmarked for families living well under the poverty line.
Mississippi State Auditor Shad White, who took to Twitter last year to respond to Favre, is among the handful of agencies investigating the misappropriated welfare funds. White hasn’t stated to FOS or any other outlet that Favre knew the source of the money came from TANF funds.
Prevacus — which was already struggling to develop an inhalable concussion treatment — took in those funds between January and October 2019, according to court records. Another source with knowledge of the product’s development told FOS as much as a third of the money Prevacus received from the Mississippi welfare agency went into PreVPro.
Through interviews with four people associated with Prevacus at the time, none could explain to FOS where all the funds went before the company was effectively broke by early 2020.
One thing is known: it wasn’t due to the dog testing.
The first dog test that took place at a Missouri lab cost less than $40,000, according to details obtained by FOS.
The theory behind PreVPro was that it would be applied to the neck before an athlete competed in a contact sport, and then make its way into the brain as a means to control inflammation that accompanies a brain injury.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) — a natural compound found in green tea, pears and avocados — was the main ingredient in PreVPro that research has shown can reduce inflammation.
Two animal studies were conducted along with a test on youth flag football players, all of which took place in 2019.
FOS obtained the report from the first test that included six beagles, five of which were put to death to have their brains studied. The lab report showed that “significant levels of EGCG” were found in the brains of the dogs studied.
In the lab reports, the cream is referred to as Presol, the name before it was changed to PreVPro.
“The active ingredient in PreSol cream (EGCG) penetrates to the brain after topical application to the skin over the carotid artery region,” the report stated. “EGCG levels anticipated to be ample to provide brain protection are present in the brain as early as 30 minutes and as long as 6 hours post application.”
Another animal test was conducted using a similar setup, but Prevacus ran out of money around the time that test was conducted, and the company officials were unable to pay for the results, according to multiple sources.
Parents signed consent forms that allowed their children to take part in adverse event testing during three flag football camps in June 2019, according to a source with knowledge of those tests.
Sixty-two children ages 7-17 and one 18-year-old had a “bilateral dime-sized amount of PreSolMD topically applied over the areas of the carotid arteries,” according to the lab report obtained by FOS.
“Based on the findings of the PreSolMD Voluntary Safety Study, PreSolMD demonstrated safety as a prophylactic nutraceutical demulcent for use in youth prior to engaging in contact sports or any high-risk contact event,” the report stated.
Prevacus/Presol founder VanLandingham, Favre, and Favre Enterprises are defendants in a lawsuit filed earlier this year by the Mississippi Department of Human Services as the agency seeks to recover the misspent funds.
Getting money back from Prevacus, however, could be difficult since it’s effectively shuttered. PreVPro was never mass produced or marketed. The intellectual property from Prevacus inhalable concussion treatment was purchased by Odyssey Health and trials are ongoing.
According to the investor presentation, the cream was supposed to hit store shelves in the fourth quarter of 2019.