Sanochemia wins US patent for photodynamic bladder cancer diagnostic

June 26, 2008 -- Sanochemia Pharmazeutika AG, (Vienna, Austria) has been granted a US patent for the manufacture of PVP hypericin formulations and their use in the diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer. PVP hypericin is a fluorescent pigment that selectively accumulates in tumor cells and makes them easily visible when exposed to blue light. It promises to enable tumor detection easier, earlier and more reliably, and to have minimal side effects.

June 26, 2008 -- Sanochemia Pharmazeutika AG, (Vienna, Austria) has been granted a US patent for the manufacture of PVP hypericin formulations and their use in the diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer. PVP hypericin is a pigment with fluorescent properties that selectively accumulates in tumor cells and makes them easily visible when exposed to blue light. It promises to enable tumor detection easier, earlier and more reliably. The patented formulation enables treatment of such carcinomas with minimal side effects.

According to the company, the technology represents a major leap forward in the early recognition and treatment of bladder cancer. With the patent award, further development linked to the photosensitiser for photodynamic diagnosis (PDD) and possibly photodynamic therapy (PDT) can now be fast tracked.

"The US patent exclusivity on the formulation and the use of this active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) is an important milestone in the clinical development of the substance for the US and Europe -- the two main target markets for Sanochemia's bladder cancer diagnostic," said company CEO Herbert Frantsits. The patent protects these formulations and their use until at least 2020.

Bladder cancer is the third most common form of cancer worldwide. Diagnosis is done by means of a cystoscopy. Annually, around four million cystocopies are performed in the US and Europe. The global turnover in the area of bladder cancer diagnostics currently lies at around $625 million, and is forecast to grow at 11%. A full 50% of all fatal tumors affect organs capable of investigation using fluorescence endoscopic diagnosis methods.

Further national and regional patent applications in association with the internationally published patent specification (WO01089576) are being sought under the European Patent Convention.

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