updated 12/6/2010 5:15:19 AM ET 2010-12-06T10:15:19

DUBLIN, Ireland, Dec. 6, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Merrion Pharmaceuticals Plc, a publicly listed product development company, today announced the commencement of an oral drug delivery Feasibility and Option agreement with one of the world's top ten biggest pharmaceutical companies. The agreement will evaluate the ability of Merrion's patented GIPET® technology to boost the bioavailablity of three of the 'big pharma' company's compounds. The three compounds have a range of molecular weights. Following the feasibility studies, the company will have the option to enter into a licensing agreement for Merrion's GIPET technology. Merrion's GIPET technology is a platform technology with broad applicability which covers a wide range of compounds with varying physiochemical properties and molecular weights.

Commenting on the announcement, John Lynch, CEO, Merrion Pharmaceuticals said, "We are very pleased to be entering into this agreement with one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies to assess the ability of our unique GIPET technology to substantially improve the product profile of three of their compounds. This agreement is further validation of the broad applicability of our GIPET technology and the high level of interest in using the power of GIPET in the pharmaceutical industry."

Merrion's patented drug delivery technology, GIPET®, is supported by a large database reflecting 10 years research and development by drug delivery experts and 21 clinical studies conducted on a broad range of drug types. In a database comprising more than 40 compounds, GIPET has shown the ability to improve absorption by as much as 200 times, achieving excellent intersubject reproducibility and with a positive safety database. This includes traditional small molecules as well as biopharmaceutical peptides and proteins, making GIPET a platform technology with broad applicability. Merrion's technology is endorsed through collaborations with pharmaceutical companies such as Novo Nordisk (oral insulin, oral GLP-1), Ferring Pharmaceuticals and others.

About Merrion:

Merrion Pharmaceuticals is a publicly listed product development company focused on delivering innovation to the market by:

  • designing our own patented products and
  • partnering with other pharmaceutical companies to develop patented products.

Established in 2003, Merrion are engaged in the development of oral forms (tablets/capsules) of drugs that have poor absorption and are generally given by injection. Merrion Pharmaceuticals' patented drug delivery technologies (GIPET®) hugely increase bioavailability, by improving absorption in the gastrointestinal tract, of drugs that are otherwise poorly absorbed. As well as increasing absorption, Merrion's technologies also increase the consistency of absorption.

These new products can provide substantial benefits in enhanced drug efficacy, improved safety, toxicity and side effect profile, health economics, patient experience and quality of life.

Merrion has agreements with several pharmaceutical companies. Merrion has two license agreements with Novo Nordisk A/S to develop and commercialise oral Insulin and oral GLP-1 using Merrion's GIPET technology. Merrion also has an oral drug delivery research collaborative program with Ferring Pharmaceuticals, a Swiss based international pharmaceutical company. There are other, unannounced collaborations.

Merrion Pharmaceuticals is based in Dublin, in a state of the art, purpose built cGMP facility which allows rapid development and reduced risk in taking product ideas from conception to final product formulation. Merrion also has operations in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Merrion is listed on the Irish Stock Exchange (ESM) under the symbol MERR.

www.merrionpharma.com

CONTACT:  Merrion Pharmaceuticals
          Jonathan O'Connell
          + 353 (0) 1 6423300
          info@merrionpharma.com
          www.merrionpharma.com

          Goodbody Stockbrokers
          Diane Hodgson
          Linda Hickey
          + 353 (0) 1 6670400

          Brunswick Group
          Jon Coles
          Will Carnwath
          + 44 207 404 5959
          merrion@brunswickgroup.com

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