Ixion Biotechnology Awarded Research Grant Within the Diabetes Area

UPPSALA, Sweden, March 15, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- Q-Med's majority owned subsidiary Ixion Biotechnology, Inc. in Florida has been awarded a research grant of USD 99,000 for continued studies within the area of diabetes.

NIH, The National Institutes of Health in the USA, has awarded Ixion Biotechnology Inc. a research grant of USD 99,000 (corresponding to just over SEK 1 million) in order to investigate the possibility of using stem cells from bone marrow in adults to treat diabetes.

Ixion's patented technology within the area of diabetes comprises the proliferation and differentiation of insulin-producing stem cells in the laboratory. The stem cell islets can then be transplanted in diabetes patients. Protection is needed for these cells so that they will not be rejected by the body. Together with Q-Med, Ixion is evaluating the use of Q-Med's NASHA technology to give protection and a developmental environment for these cells. As Q-Med's NASHA gel is experienced by the body as an endogenous substance, it can give the cells protection during the transplantation and in the recipient as well. The objective is to be able to completely eliminate or considerably reduce medication against rejection.

One problem within stem cell research is the availability of stem cell donors. Ixion carries out research into stem cells from adults as a source of the insulin-producing cells. The grant they have now been awarded is to investigate the possibility of using bone marrow in the individual to extract these cells. If Ixion manages to successfully complete this project, the foundation will have been laid for more detailed studies within the area.

In addition to research into diabetes, the company also carries out research into oxalate. Oxalate is a substance which is to be found in certain foods (for example spinach, potatoes and tea) and which is also produced in the body. In certain individuals an excess of oxalate can lead to primary hyperoxaluria, amongst other things, or to recurring kidney stones.

Q-Med is a rapidly growing and profitable biotechnology/medical device company that develops, produces and markets medical implants. All products are based on the company's patented technology for the production of NASHA - Non-Animal Stabilized Hyaluronic Acid. Q-Med's operations focus on the four areas of Esthetics, Orthopedics, Uro-Gynecology, and Cell Therapy and Encapsulation. The products PERLANE, RESTYLANE and RESTYLANE Fine Lines are used for the filling out of lips and facial wrinkles and today account for the majority of sales. Development of MACROLANE for body contouring, for example breast augmentation, is ongoing. DUROLANE, Q-Med's product for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee joint, has been approved in Europe since May 2001. DEFLUX is a product which has been approved in Europe and the USA for the treatment of vesicoureteral reflux (malformation of the urinary bladder) in children. ZUIDEX for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence in women is estimated to be available in Europe in the middle of 2002. Since July 2000 Q-Med has owned a majority interest in the American biotechnology company Ixion Biotechnology, Inc., with research within cell therapy for diabetes. Q-Med today has approximately 280 employees, with 180 at the company's production facility and head office in Uppsala, 20 at Ixion and the remainder in wholly owned foreign sales companies. The Q-Med share was first listed on the O-list of the Stockholm Stock Exchange in December 1999.

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