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. Maas ScientificDirector.

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.
+46 46-143151

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