KIRKLAND, Wash. -- ProCyte Corp. said Tuesday said it wasissued a U.S. patent for a hair-growth compound.that thecompany discovered during the course of wound-healingresearch.

An initial university-based pilot study in Europe of ProCyte'sTricomin product applied topically on men with male-patternbaldness was completed in April. The company expects tocomplete its analysis of the data in a few months, Leonard Patt,Procyte's director of pharmaceutical research, said Tuesday.

ProCyte, whose research has been focused on development ofwound-healing and anti-inflammatory products, is givingthought to a potentially large market for hair loss products.Those thoughts lead inevitably to Rogaine, a highly promotedtopical preparation marketed by Upjohn Co. of Kalamazoo, Mich.

Although it has yet to fully digest the early data, ProCytethinks Tircomin could prove a more effective product thanRohgaine. "Obviously, if we don't work out better than Rogaine,you won't be hearing from us," Patt said.

The patent covers composition of certain proprietary peptide-metal compounds, which ProCyte said have been shown tostimulate hair growth in warm-blooded animals. Theinventions were previously disclosed under a notice ofallowance that issued to the company in 1991. They include anumber of peptide compounds that are bound with copper andother metal ions.

ProCyte also recently received a U.S. patent for its anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory uses and composition ofmatter of its peptide-copper compounds. The company holds10 U.S. patents on its peptide-copper compounds and has nineforeign patents issued, including a hair-growth patent inAustralia.

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