Focal Inc. announced Tuesday that it has been awarded a U.S.patent on a biodegradable, polymer-based system for "paving"the inner surfaces of body organs.

The system, Pavent, is applied inside tubular organs such asblood vessels, the trachea or biliary ducts through catheters,after which it is thermally molded to conform to the lining ofthe vessel or organ. Once in place, Pavent is intended to act as areconstructive support, a replacement for natural barrierseroded by disease or a means of sustained drug release to treatdisease locally without systemic side effects of therapeuticdrugs.

U.S. Patent No. 5,213,580 covers Pavent's ability to conformand adhere to inner surfaces of blood vessels and holloworgans, and act as a barrier against disease. The patent alsocovers uses of Pavent as a depot for the focal delivery oftherapeutics.

Focal of Cambridge, Mass., is initially developing Pavent to treatcoronary artery restenosis and abrupt closure associated withprocedures such as percutaneous transluminal coronaryangioplasty (PTCA).

"This system may allow for significant reductions in the needfor anti-coagulant therapy and consequent hospitalizationtypically associated with used of metallic stents following PTCAprocedures," said Mark Levin, president and chief executiveofficer of privately held Focal.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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