Cyclosporin brain protection: Swedish research wins USA patent for
Maas BiolAB of Hawaii.
Honolulu - 26 October, 1999 - Patent 5,972,924 was granted today by the
United States Patent and Trademark Office to Maas BiolAB, LLC for cyclosporin
neuroprotection, announced Marcus Keep M.D., Chief Executive Officer.
Acute brain attacks potentially treatable with cyclosporin include stroke,
brain and spinal cord injury, and chronic brain diseases include Alzheimer's,
Parkinson's, Huntington's and ALS.
Cyclosporin protects the brain by interfering with the energy-producing
mitochondria. It keeps mitochondria viable during stroke, and blocks mitochondrial
cytochrome c release and apoptotic cell death. It also protects brain
by blocking calcineurin enzyme activity and nitric oxide production.
"Our USA patent joins an explosion of scientific pre-clinical research
publications in 1999 showing cyclosporin to be the most potent neuroprotectant
drug in neurological emergencies." said Eskil Elmér, Ph.D.
Cyclosporin is the first member of neuroprotective drugs called "Neuroimmunophilin
ligands". Others are Guilford's FK-Binding Proteins (FKBPs) licensed
to Amgen for up to $500 million, Vertex's FKBPs licensed to Schering AG
for $88 million, and Fujisawa's FK506 (Prograf), for which they hold the
stroke patent themselves. Novartis' cyclosporin production patent expired
in 1995, and several companies now manufacture it.
"The USA patent strengthens our intellectual property portfolio."
said Helmuth von Moltke, Maas Corporate Director. "We continue to
evaluate licensing and collaboration opportunities in America and abroad."
American contact: Marcus Keep M.D.
European contact: Eskil Elmér Ph.D.