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Company looking for a `sleeping partner' Talks over anaesthetic marketing.

Byline: David Jones Business Staff

SPECIALIST healthcare products company Maelor, which is seeking a partner for the development and marketing of its intravenous general anaesthetic agent micelle propofol, says it is in advanced negotiations with several major international pharmaceutical businesses.

The Wrexham-based company is aiming to launch the patented drug delivery in about two years time after further trials and will be aiming to capture a slice of a market worth hundreds of millions of pounds. A successful phase one study which compared Maelor's micelle propofol with AstraZeneca's established Diprivan product in inducing general anaesthesia concluded that there were no clinical or statistically significant differences between the two formulations. Sales of the emulsion-based Diprivan totalled $465m in 2001. Additional pre-clinical work has indicated that anaesthesia might be safely maintained for up to eight days using micelle propofol.

A micelle is an aggregation of polymers which can be used to dissolve materials such as propofol - the world's leading injectable general anaesthetic - which have little or no solubility in water. Maelor chief executive Stephen Appelbee said: ``We are pleased that the work carried out with our micelle formulation of propofol in 2002 has resulted in an elegant formulation which is clinically similar to Diprivan and over which we have already shown many pharmaceutical advantages. ``For example, Maelor's micelle formulation is stable across a wide temperature range, is intrinsically bactericidal, and can be easily mixed with other aqueous compounds such as lidocaine, which is commonly given as an adjunct to propofol to counteract pain on injection. ``Now that we know that micelle propofol behaves exactly like Diprivan once it is in the human body, our next step is to find a partner to help us define the late-stage clinical development programme. ``We are equally delighted with the pre-clinical work, which for the first time demonstrates the potential utility of micelle propofol in the maintenance of sedation. We can now offer to potential partners a formulation which can meet or exceed all the current therapeutic benchmarks.'' Bringing a major partner for the further development of micelle propofol on board could result in a substantial injection of funds into the North Wales business, added Mr Appelbee.

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PLEASED: Maelor chief executive Stephen Appelbee
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 7, 2003
Words:369
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