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MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY AND CYGNUS ANNOUNCE RESEARCH MILESTONE ON ELECTROPORATION

 MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY AND CYGNUS
 ANNOUNCE RESEARCH MILESTONE ON ELECTROPORATION
 REDWOOD CITY, Calif., July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Cygnus Therapeutic Systems (NASDAQ: CYGN) have announced an important milestone in research on electroporation technology. The use of very short, pulsed electric fields were shown to increase the delivery of large molecules through the skin by 1,000-fold over passive delivery and by substantial amounts over iontophoresis. The results of the research were presented at the Controlled Release Society in Orlando, Fla. yesterday.
 The paper was presented by Mark Prausnitz of MIT. Co-authors were Vanu Bose and Professors Robert Langer and James Weaver of MIT.
 "Cygnus is committed to advancing the frontiers of drug delivery technology," said Dr. Gary Cleary, chairman and chief technical officer. "This breakthrough in electroporation confirms the value of working with leading edge academic researchers like Professors Langer and Weaver at MIT."
 Weaver, Powell and Langer are inventors on a patent issued to MIT on the use of electroporation for the transport of molecules across tissues such as human skin. Cygnus is the exclusive licensee of that patent.
 Electroporation is a new and novel method of electrically-assisted drug delivery which creates new pathways through the skin. This technology uses pulsed electrical fields, in milliseconds or less, to create temporary and reversible transport pathways through the skin.
 Human skin plays an important role in keeping toxic compounds and organisms from entering the body. But it also impedes the transdermal delivery of many beneficial drugs, particularly drugs with high molecular weights, such as proteins and peptides, or drugs which are highly ionic or polar molecules. One of the main barriers which limits transport of molecules across the skin is the oil-like lipids of the stratum corneum, the thin, outermost layer of skin. Thus, a major factor in increasing the transdermal delivery of drugs is to transiently and reversibly alter the skin's barrier function by focusing on the stratum corneum lipids.
 Researchers at MIT have shown in vitro that human skin permeability is dramatically enhanced following the application of a short, pulsed electric field. Their results indicated that the permeability to several molecules was increased by over 1,000-fold relative to that observed in the absence of an electric field. Furthermore, substantially greater drug delivery was achieved using electroporation than was achieved using an equivalent constant, low-voltage field (iontophoresis or electrotransport). These results are similar to electroporation effects seen in cells where high voltage pulses cause transient changes in permeability associated with reversible alteration in membrane lipids. Similar lipid alteration is believed to be responsible for the transient increase in skin permeability.
 These results will have a significant impact on transdermal drug delivery, where therapeutic efficacy can be limited by insufficient drug transport through the skin. Using a well-known process called iontophoresis, many researchers have over the years, used constant, low-voltage electric fields to enhance transdermal delivery. This technique, however, does not alter the inherent permeability of the skin. In contrast, the use of high-voltage pulses can reversibly alter skin permeability, and thereby, produce a significant increase in drug delivery relative to iontophoresis.
 Weaver is a professor in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and associate director of the Biomedical Engineering Center. Langer is the Kenneth J. Germeshausen Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at MIT and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.
 Cygnus is a leader in the development of advanced transdermal drug delivery systems. The company's first product, a nicotine patch, is being marketed by Parke-Davis, a division of Warner Lambert Co., which will also market the product in Canada. Kabi Pharmacia AB will market the product in Europe under the trade name Nicorette(TM). Nicorette is on the market in Sweden, approval has been obtained in Italy and is also expected in a number of other European countries by year-end.
 In addition to the nicotine patch, Cygnus has two other products in advanced clinical trials, an estradiol patch for the treatment of the symptoms of menopause and the prevention of osteoporosis; and a fentanyl patch for moderate to severe post-operative pain management. Cygnus Therapeutic Systems has 11 U.S. patents issued or allowed and over 300 patent applications worldwide covering its transdermal technology.
 -0- 7/30/92
 /CONTACT: Shirley Clayton of Cygnus, 415-599-3552/
 (CYGN) CO: Cygnus Therapeutic Systems ST: California IN: MTC SU:


MM -- SF002 -- 4937 07/30/92 09:02 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 30, 1992
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