St. Louis, MO, February 7, 2011 - ISTO Technologies, Inc. announced today that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted the company a key patent covering the primary technology for ISTO's NuQu™ product. The new patent, issued on February 1, 2011 as Patent # US-7,879,604, covers the method of cultivating juvenile cartilage cells and injecting those cells into a disc nucleus for the treatment of degenerative disc disease.
NuQu is an injectable cell-based therapy derived from ISTO's cartilage regeneration platform technology. It is intended for use as an early intervention treatment for patients suffering from lower back pain. In preclinical studies, the juvenile chondrocytes used in the NuQu program have shown to be up to 100 times more efficient in producing cartilage matrix than adult cartilage cells.
"The receipt of this patent is an important milestone for the company and is the result of the hard work of many dedicated people over several years. We believe that our proprietary juvenile chondrocyte-based technology represents a significant potential new treatment option for patients with chronic lower back pain. Accordingly, an important part of our strategy is to develop a strong intellectual property base to support our product development efforts. We view this recognition by the USPTO of our novel and unique technology as a significant step forward for the NuQu program and for the Company," said Mitchell Seyedin, Ph.D. President & CEO of ISTO.
The company announced the completion of patient enrollment in the Phase I clinical study for NuQu in October 2010. The study consists of fifteen (15) patients enrolled at two clinical sites. The company anticipates completing data collection of six-month interim results from the trial in early 2011. All patients enrolled in the trial suffered from persistent discogenic back pain and disability despite undergoing previous traditional conservative therapies.
In addition to NuQu, the company's other product derived from its cartilage regeneration platform is DeNovo® ET, a scaffold-free engineered cartilage tissue, intended for the repair of damaged articular cartilage in the knee. DeNovo® ET is developed in partnership with Zimmer, the world's largest provider of reconstructive solutions, and is currently in clinical trials.
In addition to ISTO's cell-based cartilage programs, the company is currently producing and marketing InQu®, a bone graft extender and substitute. InQu combines integrated hyaluronic acid and a resorbable polymer for better handling and biology. The primary target market for InQu is spinal fusion applications.
ISTO is a privately-held orthobiologics company dedicated to improving patient quality of life through the development of proprietary products for spinal therapies and sport medicine applications. ISTO's products are intended for the repair and regeneration of damaged or injured cartilage and bone. For additional information on ISTO, please visit our website at www.istotech.com.