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ISTO Technologies Receives $2 Million NIST Award

Oct 12, 2001

ISTO Technologies, Inc. today announced that the Company has received a prestigious three- year Advanced Technology Program (ATP) award of $2 million from the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST). The award will help fund the development of a tissue-engineered neocartilage allograft for the surgical repair of articular cartilage defects in the knee and other joints. Neocartilage, as this laboratorygrown tissue is called, is cultured from human chondrocytes. It is biochemically and histologically very similar to normal articular cartilage, the resilient cartilage on the ends of bones that cushions joints.

The main objective of this project is to develop and characterize a neocartilage-on-bone graft to treat individuals suffering from large cartilage defects caused by arthritis or injury. Once the cultured grafts exhibit the necessary structural, biomechanical and biochemical properties, their therapeutic utility will be evaluated in sheep. The performance of the implanted grafts will be followed for up to one year.

“There are over 500,000 arthroscopies performed in the United States each year on individuals with cartilage lesions present. It is estimated that the market potential for a superior cartilage repair technology exceeds $1 billion in the U.S. alone,” said Joseph Feder, Ph.D., President and CEO. “The ATP award is critical to the successful development of this novel technology as it provides technical validation in addition to funding. Both are essential to attract prospective corporate marketing partners and investors.”

In addition, this study can potentially offer other medical benefits. Because cartilage appears to be an “immune-privileged” tissue – grafts are not rejected as foreign bodies — data gathered from this study may also benefit organ transplantation.

Neocartilage is also being cultured for high throughput screening of drug candidates for the treatment of arthritis and inflammation of the joints. Arthritis affects more than 33 million people in the United States. The US government’s National Institute of Health (NIH) estimates that by the age of 65 more than half the population has osteoarthritis in at least one joint. “Isto Technologies has already signed two agreements with pharmaceutical firms to utilize this system for drug discovery,” said Edward Bayham, Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Business Development.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), through ATP (www.atp.nist.gov), supports and accelerates the development of innovative technologies for broad national benefit through partnerships with the private sector. ATP provides cost-shared funding to industry, non-profits and universities to help advance particularly challenging, high- risk research and development projects that have the potential to spark important, broad-based economic or social benefits for the United States. The program supports projects that industry cannot fully fund on its own because of significant technical risks or limited resources. ATP awards are made on the basis of rigorous competitive review considering scientific and technical merit of each proposal and its potential benefits to the U.S. economy. Applicants must include a detailed business plan for bringing the new technology to market once technical milestones have been achieved under ATP support. The program is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

About ISTO Technologies
ISTO Technologies is an emerging biotechnology company that seeks to develop advanced products for the repair, replacement and regeneration of human tissue that has been injured or destroyed by trauma or disease. Its primary focus is on orthopaedic applications.

For additional information visit ISTO Technologies’ website at www.istobiologics.com, or contact the Company by phone at (314) 995-6049, or by e-mail at info@istotech.com.

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