war in iraq


Chemical defense product reaches next phase of development

Post-injury agent for mustard gas injuries in joint development with U.S. Army

February 11, 2003

GAINESVILLE, Fla., Feb. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Quick-Med Technologies, Inc. announced today that it has entered the next phase of its fast track program for developing a post-injury agent for mustard gas injuries. The program is being run jointly with the U.S. Army under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement ("CRADA").

This next phase of the program is a multi-pronged effort to deliver an effective therapy by 2004. This includes the anticipated acquisition of existing Phase I and Phase II clinical safety data, formulation analyses for the skin and eye, and Company sponsored efficacy experiments being independently carried out by defense-affiliated research laboratories in Israel and the Netherlands.

Quick-Med's program uses its compound Ilomastat, which is known to be effective in similar types of injuries and has proven successful in initial experiments with mustard gas. It has already successfully completed Phase I and Phase II clinical studies for related ocular conditions.

A key feature of the company's strategy is the fact that safety data for Ilomastat already exists, while efficacy for mustard gas therapy is only required in animal studies and not human clinical trials. This should dramatically accelerate the research and approval process.

"There is currently no post-injury therapy that's been approved and deployed for mustard gas exposure," stated Major General George Friel (ret.), a Director of Quick-Med Technologies, who formerly headed the Nation's Nuclear, Chemical and Biologic Defense Command for the U.S. Army. "Quick-Med has an excellent opportunity to provide an important new drug to military and civil defense organizations world-wide. It will fill a major void in our preparedness against Chem/Bio attacks," added General Friel.

"The recognized threat now posed by terrorists and rogue states clearly validates Quick-Med's strategic emphasis on Chem/Bio defense," said Michael R. Granito, Chairman of Quick-Med Technologies. "This overall initiative began over two years ago. We are now well positioned to capture a large new market, and to provide a needed therapy for this deadly threat," Mr. Granito stated.

On November 15, 2000, the Company signed a six-year CRADA with the U.S. Army to develop a post-injury (eye and skin) treatment for mustard gas exposure. Quick-Med expects the therapy to be ultimately used by the U.S. military, NATO, other friendly states, and for civil defense throughout the world.

Mustard Gas: Mustard gas, or sulfur mustard as it is more properly known, is one of the oldest chemical weapons, having caused 78% of the British gas casualties in WWI. Its use has been documented in 11 subsequent conflicts, most recently by Iraq against its own citizens and against Iran. Threat assessment by the U.S. Army considers sulfur mustard the most likely agent to be used by terrorists or foreign governments due to its low cost to produce, store and dispense.

(Source: Medical Defense Against Mustard Gas, B. Papirmeister, 1991, CRC Press.)

Source: Quick-Med Technologies, Inc.

Related: Mustard gas and blister agents CDC


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