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arGentis Licenses Second Therapy for Dry Eye Syndrome.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- arGentis, LLC, a Memphis-based specialty biopharmaceutical company, has licensed a second treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) developed by researchers at the Southern College of Optometry (SCO) in Memphis. The licensed patent application covers the use of transdermal progesterone in the treatment of DES, a condition that affects at least 20 million people in the U.S. and over 100 million people worldwide. The license agreement for this new DES treatment follows arGentis' earlier licensure of intellectual property covering the use of transdermal testosterone in the treatment of DES, which would be prescribed in menopausal women. Approximately 30% of menopausal women suffer from DES, due to waning androgen production.

The active pharmaceutical ingredient for both licensed treatments is formulated into a cream or other such vehicle which is applied to the upper and lower eyelids for transdermal delivery to the affected glands. The use of testosterone and progesterone in this unique delivery method is based on the clinical work of Charles Connor, OD, PhD, Professor and Director of Research Programs at SCO and Charles Haine, OD, SCO Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dr. Connor stated: "Our earlier transdermal testosterone treatment that SCO licensed to arGentis works very well with menopausal and post menopausal women suffering from DES. However, there are millions of younger women and men of all ages who suffer from DES resulting from other causes. In our clinical practice at SCO, we have found transdermal progesterone treatment addresses that need. Given the cross-reactivity among Class I hormone receptors, we believe progesterone activates the secretion of corticosteroids which have anti-inflammatory properties, restoring the natural process of quality tear production."

arGentis CEO, Tom Davis stated: "We believe these two treatments give us a solid pipeline of products to treat DES. The distinctive application via the eyelids is innovative and different from the approach taken by other pharmaceutical companies. We believe the unique method of delivery will be more effective than eye drops by giving more direct access to the affected glands by the API. It will also be easier for patients to use than drop formulations and provides for convenient twice-daily dosing. I have been impressed by SCO's research and its commitment to high quality eye care. This commitment is one of the primary reasons the SCO researchers have developed these innovative approaches to DES treatment."

arGentis plans to begin the pharmaceutical formulation development for both treatments in the second quarter of this year and complete the clinical trial designs in 2007. The company plans to file Investigative New Drug applications for both treatments early in 2008.

The patent application for the progesterone treatment was prepared and filed for SCO by Reed Smith LLP of Washington, D.C.

About Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome (DES), also known as keratoconjuctivitas sicca (KCS), is one of the most common disorders of the eye. It is caused by a lack of tear quantity, or lack of tear quality, adequate tear production without the necessary elements to maintain them. DES affects as many as 20 million people in the U.S. and 100 million in the developed world.

About arGentis

arGentis, LLC is a Tennessee Limited Liability Company formed to develop, distribute and market health care products, including those developed by Southern College of Optometry. Based in the heart of the biomedical research district in Memphis, Tennessee, the company is led by CEO and President Tom Davis.

About Southern College of Optometry

Established in Memphis, Tennessee in 1932, Southern College of Optometry is an independent, not-for-profit institution of higher education with a mission to educate men and women in the art and science of optometry. An SCO faculty member since 1988, Dr. Charles Connor, Director of Research Programs, earned his PhD from Temple University and his doctor of optometry degree from the University of Houston. Dr. Charles Haine, Professor, earned his masters and doctor of optometry degree from Indiana University.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jan 16, 2007
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