Epitan changes name to Clinuvel, announces new clinical program

By Ruth Beran
Monday, 27 February, 2006

Melbourne-based Epitan (ASX:EPT) will now be known as Clinuvel.

Shareholders voted to change the company's name at an EGM held on February 23.

Clinuvel's CEO Philippe Wolgen also revealed the company's new clinical program, with the skin condition actinic keratosis added as a second indication for the company's lead compound CUV1647 (formerly EPT1647).

"Actinic keratosis is a precursor to skin cancer, up to 25 per cent leads to squamous cell carcinoma," said Wolgen, who replaced Iain Kirkwood as Epitan's CEO in November. "We'll start a pilot study within 18 weeks. That's a radical change from where this company came before I took office."

The first indication for CUV1647 is polymorphous light eruption (PLE), another UV related skin disorder, with phase III trials expected to begin in the latter half of 2006.

Wolgen also told shareholders last week that he has set a 36 months target for completion of the clinical program for CUV1647.

"I've put a deadline to myself, to the company, to management and the board, and I would be personally disappointed and will take the consequences if we do not complete this clinical program within 36 months," said Wolgen. "While we are at the later stage of phase III, I can commence filing and the first target will be the FDA."

Clinuvel's trials so far have focused on Caucasians, however Wolgen said the company will now include Asians in its trials. "PLE is not only prevalent in Caucasians, it's also prevalent in Asians. They need treatment too, so why not include them in our trials."

Clinuvel is also sporting a new logo, a frilled neck lizard.

"The lizard reflects protection against UV and sun, and I find it legitimate and exciting to bring out the Australian heritage in the company," said Wolgen. "This is an Australian company where skin cancer is rampant. That pride needs to brought out overseas."

The company's new ASX ticker of CUV will replace EPT in the next few weeks.

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