University of Illinois at Chicago and Advanced Life Sciences
Conduct collaborative research

Woodridge, Ill (January 21, 2003) - The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent to the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), bolstering the university's proprietary position in the use of betulinic acid and its derivatives. UIC is conducting research on betulinic acid in collaboration with Woodridge, Ill-based Advanced Life Sciences, to determine its potential as an anti-cancer agent in the treatment of malignant melanoma, a common, but virulent form of skin cancer.

Patent No. 6495600 B1 (method and composition for selectively inhibiting melanoma) applies to betulinic acid and its derivatives. The lead compound, betulinic acid, is derived from birch bark and works by promoting the death of certain cancer cells. It has demonstrated pre-clinical activity against human melanoma.

Dr. John Pezzuto, MD, PhD, formerly with UIC's College of Pharmacy and now dean of Purdue University's College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Health Services and Dr. Tapas K. Das Gupta, MD, PhD, professor and head of Surgical Oncology at UIC's College of Medicine, are the primary inventors of this technology. Advanced Life Sciences has acquired the exclusive worldwide license to commercialize the technology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

"This broad patent coverage expands our intellectual property portfolio in betulinic acid for potential anti-cancer drugs," said Michael Flavin, PhD, CEO of Advanced Life Sciences.

Advanced Life Sciences ( is a privately held biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery, development and commercialization of novel drugs in the therapeutic areas of infection, cancer, and inflammation using its platform in natural products and chemical proteomics coupled with expertise in drug development.