Alkermes Inc. announced Monday that it has received its firstpatent on its OraLease drug delivery technology.

The U.S. patent, No. 5,271,961, covers Alkermes' method ofproducing OraLease "microspheres," drug-containing capsulessmaller than five microns in diameter that the company hopeswill allow the oral delivery of drugs currently available only ininjectable or other dosage form.

The Cambridge, Mass., company (NASDAQ:ALKS) said thatpatents covering compositions and methods of use of theOraLease system are pending worldwide.

Last November, the company completed Phase I trials of thelead compound in its oral delivery program, an OraLeaseformulation of Desmopressin Acetate (dDAVP). The peptidedDAVP is an anti-diuretic hormone used in the prevention ofbed-wetting in children.

Alkermes stock closed at $9 a share on Monday, up 75 cents. --Karl Thiel

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