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biotech epitan tanning drug trials to start

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    Biotech EpiTan tanning drug trials to start
    September 9, 2003

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    Biotech EpiTan will soon seek approval to start trials of its tanning drug Melanotan in the US, after booking a net loss of $3.98 million for fiscal 2003.

    The result for the 12 months to June 30, which the company said followed a year of considerable development of Melanotan, compared with a net loss of $3.14 million the year earlier.

    EpiTan said volunteers participating in Phase IIb clinical trials of Melanotan using the daily injection delivery mechanism would complete the trials this month.

    EpiTan was confident that the trial would confirm earlier results of increasing the melanin density of the skin and reducing sunburn injury.

    In November 2003, trials will start using a new sustained release formulation at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research.

    EpiTan would hold meetings with the US Food and Drug Administration next month, it said. "During 2004, the company will begin planning for the final Phase III trials for Melanotan, which are expected to take place in the US, Europe and Australia."

    EpiTan said it was seeking a partnership with a large pharmaceutical company to secure funding for the Phase III trials. Research costs for 2002-03 totalled $2.64 million, and cash reserves at June 30 were at $2.61 million.

    In July, EpiTan received $1.53 million from the exercise of listed options. In addition, a placement of 14.5 million ordinary shares was completed last month, bringing in $7.4 million before expenses.

    Revenue for fiscal 2003 was $136,400, compared with $257,500 the year before. EpiTan did not declare a dividend.

    EpiTan shares yesterday closed 2¢ lower at 62¢
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