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    This post was originally supplied by "Feaby":

    People are just starting to understand the significants of what Epitan is all about:

    “Barbie is a real Doll”

    So just how much is “hype” and how much is “hope” about this drug named Melanotan?

    When EpiTan (ASX:EPT) listed on the Australian stock exchange back in early 2001, it would be fair to say that its day in the sun appeared more like a chilling blizzard. Investors dumped the stock in a blazing glory from its listing price of 20 cents to a blushing 6 cents in the first few months alone.

    The rumour was that Melanotan was all hype and hope, and had been bestowed a puny 14% chance of being successfully approved for commercialisation. The investment community had little understanding of Melanotan, little confidence in it being FDA approved and little willingness to finance something “too good to be true”!

    However recently, analysts have started to give Melanotan and its world wide rights owner EpiTan not only another serious look, but a simmering vote of confidence.

    The reason is that for as controversial and poorly understood the drug is by the investment community – it’s starting to earn some serious scientific and investor street cred through the extraordinary success of the clinical trials to date and the willingness of the Australian regulatory and ethical bodies to approve further trials. When hope and hype turns in to answers, and the answers are solid gold, there is little anyone can dispute.

    So here is some FACTS and FICTION about Melanotan just to set the story right!


    I heard that Melanotan does more than just produce a sun tan; like increasing libido and sex drive, promoting weight loss and reducing inflammation. Is this true?


    There are currently two versions of synthetic melanocyte stimulating hormone (Melanotan) being trialled, Melanotan 1 and Melanotan 2. Melanotan 2 is a shortened and circular peptide version of Melanotan 1, which is being trialled by a company in the USA called Palatin for sexual dysfunction.

    Melanotan 1 does not exhibit this property and is the version currently being trialled by EpiTan in Australia. It has been reported that both versions of the drug may promote weight loss and lower inflammation. As such, Melanotan may also be beneficial in reducing Acne and other skin disorders.


    If Melanotan has such great benefits, why did analysts only give it a 14% chance of being successfully commercialized by EpiTan?


    When developing drugs for commercial use, the drug needs to pass several clinical trial stages, 1, 2 and 3. The first stage clinical trials are aimed at proving that the drug is safe to use on humans. The second stage trials are to show that the drug actually works and does what the scientists think it will do. And finally, stage 3 trials are done with the commercial proto-type product over a large cross section of the community with a large amount of participants.

    Generally, every drug entering in to stage 1 trials is given less than 20% chance of success and Melanotan was no different. As the drug passes the various tests and trials, the percent chance of success steadily increases until it is approved for commercialisation. EpiTan is now nearing the start of phase 3 trials which means its version of Melanotan is clinically quite advanced and as such its chances of success substantially now higher.


    The Australian or United States Food and Drug Administration will never approve a “Barbie Drug”, you can’t be serious about Melanotan?


    The media is responsible for the “hype” and “high hopes” of Melanotan because getting a tan and increasing libido makes a great story. It sells! Especially when you relate the product to a cosmetic fantasy doll called Barbie and merge the properties of both Melanotan 1 and 2 together!

    It is important to note that doctors, scientists and government regulatory departments look at the drugs compound, its scientific merit and to whether the benefits of the drug being brought to the public domain is more beneficial than not. Melanotan increases melanin (the tan colour) in skin that produces a protective barrier to DNA damage; thus the potential to reduce the incidence of skin cancer. It so happens that a sun tan is desirable cosmetically by many in the community.

    Skin cancer costs the Australian and American tax payers millions of dollars each year; both physically and socially. Some of this skin cancer is the result of people visiting sun tan salons as a matter of personal choice to have a tan. Therefore, one could imagine that if administered responsibly and safely, Melanotan would offer a preferable option to those wanting a tan for cosmetic purposes since they are going to try and tan anyway.

    In addition, those going on summer vacation or who have intermittent excessive sun exposure would benefit by a reduction in potential sun burn, thus skin cancer later in life. Lets face it, how many of us have forgot our hat or to put on sun screen? Barbie aside, the protective benefits of Melanotan would be a substantial saving for governments of the world and there is substantial evidence that the pale skin people of the world amongst us want it!


    How would I take Melanotan?

    Both Palatin and EpiTan are working on different application methods because their product is aimed at different uses. Palatin is working on a nasal spray version that one would take prior to sexual activity to produce the desired effect so to speak. Whereas EpiTan has developed a slow release implant and is currently working on a lotion for its version.

    EpiTan says that a customer would visit the doctor or dermatologist where a small implant the size of a grain of rice would be implanted under the skin. In turn, a protective all over body natural tan will develop that would last for six months.

    The implant is made of the same material as self-dissolving stitches that is already in wide use that has showed safety for years and it would not have to be removed. The topical lotion version is still under development. Other delivery methods are also under consideration such as skin patches etc.

    After an initial trial period under as a therapeutic (prescription) drug, EpiTan hopes that a customer will be able to buy it over the counter like sun cream. Indeed, perhaps their own “Melanotan” brand of sun screen. Not only does it give you an immediate SPF30 factor, but in a week, you get the best tan of your life! Do you think it would sell?


    I heard that Melanotan will make my grey hair dark again?


    Unfortunately this is fiction! Hair follicles do not produce melanin, so Melanotan has no effect on hair. It will however send your golden retriever dog chocolate brown, as fur does.


    I get tanned easily when I go to the beach already. Why would I care about taking Melanotan?


    Unless your skin has a normally high level of melanin content (such as Africans), the only way to get a tan is for your skin to be damaged first. When your skin is burnt or receives UV damage, your skin sends a signal to your pituitary gland to produce natural alpha~MSH (natural Melanotan). Your natural alpha~MSH then travels to your melanin producing skin cells and a tan develops around the skin like a dark (tan) barrier. Kind of like a sun umbrella or blanket over your skin cells!

    Next time you go in the sun, not as much UV gets through to your cells, and as such, your get less DNA damage, thus less chance of skin cancer later in life. Trouble is, you had to be burnt in the first place to send the signal to produce alpha~MSH! It’s too late! Damage done!

    Those who take a long time or several burns to get a tan, are worse off! However, by taking Melanotan a couple weeks before your vacation to the beach, your skin will be already tanned up and thus your natural defences will be armed and ready!


    Wont taking Melanotan just encourage me to spend more time in the sun, thus increase my chances of burning?


    Melanotan is not a cure against sun burn or skin cancer. It may however assist in reducing the incidence of skin cancer later in life by providing additional protection against skin damage. The fact is really, that if you’re going to the beach for the day with family or friends; pretty much that decision to spend that time in the sun has already been taken regardless of what you have lined up in the way of skin protection. So if you normally put on sun screen and a hat, great! Take Melanotan, and that will help even more!


    John from Florida USA asks: Why is Melanotan being developed in Australia and not the USA, since it was invented by the University of Arizona over 10 years ago?


    The University of Arizona originally developed Melanotan for an American Cancer Institution (US Government funded project). It was then given to the Melanotan Organisation who subsequently sub-licensed the sole world-wide rights of Melanotan 1 for tanning purposes to EpiTan in Australia and Melanotan 2 to Palatin in the USA. The reason for Australia is because Australia has one of the highest incidences of skin cancer in the world and would be a cost efficient place to do clinical trials. The Melanotan organisation owns 20% of EpiTan’s shares.


    Sarah from Sweden asks: If the Palatin version of Melanotan (version 2) gives you a tan and lifts libido, why would you buy EpiTan’s version?


    EpiTan has the sole patent rights to market and sell Melanotan for tanning. Palatin does not have this right. Therefore you would not be able to buy Palatin’s version for this purpose. The dosage would also be all wrong for tanning purposes and I doubt many men would like to walk around with an erection 24 hours a day 7 days a week!

    For further information, please visit:


    E-mail your questions or comments to:

    [email protected]

    July 2003

    The information contained on this web site is the personal opinion of the author and may contain inaccuracies unknown at time of publish. You should seek professional advice from EpiTan or Palatin in regards to their respective products, or in the case of investment advice seek a registered and licensed stock & securities dealer.

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