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Opening of new frontiers in the diagnosis of allergy to more than 20 different metals and a large number of allergens from a single blood sample
Montreal, March 1, 2006 – (TSX-V: BUG) Biophage Pharma Inc. and MELISA Diagnostics Ltd (Prof. Vera Stejskal, owner of the MELISA technology) are pleased to announce the signature of an exclusive licensing agreement aimed at allowing Biophage to offer a novel and advanced diagnostic tool for the detection of allergy to more than 20 metals and other allergenic substances.
MELISA® is the first and only scientifically validated metal allergy blood test yet developed for the simultaneous screening of a large number of antigens and metals including various mercury compounds, nickel, lead, silver, titanium, manganese, and beryllium. Metal allergy has been found to be common in patients with various diseases such as skin diseases (Psoriasis, Eczema), autoimmune diseases (Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Thyroiditis, Sjogren's disease) and gastrointestinal diseases. Patients with symptoms of profound fatigue of unclear etiology (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) often suffer from metal allergy induced by dental amalgams.
Another major application of MELISA® is in implantology and dentistry: mucosal changes around a dental filling (such as oral lichen) may be due to an allergic reaction to its metal content. Replacement of fillings in metal-sensitive patients usually leads to decrease or even disappearance of the symptoms. Moreover, in metal sensitive patients, body implants (hip joints, knee prosthesis, screws, pacemakers, silicone breast implants, cochlear implants) may induce side effects such as pain, dermatitis, cutaneous swelling, impaired wound healing, and bone infections.
"We are very excited by this opportunity to penetrate a high potential market that this exclusive license offers us. Beryllium sensitivity testing in workers has been the focus of our efforts in the past few years, and now MELISA® will open the occupational disease market for other metal allergies (like for example, manganese exposure of welders). MELISA® will also have a large number of applications in General medicine, Dentistry, and implantology," said Dr. Mandeville, President and Chief Executive Officer. "This technology addresses the role of metal allergy in chronic diseases like MS, Rheumatoid arthritis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and can also contribute to the management of these diseases. In clinical studies on patient with metal allergies, amalgam removal and replacement with ceramic filling demonstrated a clear improvement of the health status in 71% of patients with mercury allergy, the highest rate of improvement being observed in MS patients, the lowest in patients with eczema," added Dr. Mandeville.
"We are delighted to license our technology to a company with a solid experience in occupational medicine, where MELISA® can help prevent disease by pin-pointing workers likely to become sick after metal exposure," said Prof. Vera Stejskal, inventor of the MELISA® test. "MELISA® has been used for more than a decade in Europe now, and we are excited to have found such a partner of Biophage's caliber to take the test to the North American market. We are very impressed by the scientific credibility of Biophage's CEO, a former Professor of Immunology at the University of Quebec for more than 16 years, as well as the depth of knowledge and know-how of the entire scientific team. We hope our collaboration will take us into new grounds in understanding and treating so-called incurable diseases like MS and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome."