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Emisphere Technologies Inc. (EMIS) to Conduct Studies for Treatment of Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Osteoarthritis affects roughly 21 million people in the United States each year. This inflammatory affliction accounts for 25 percent of visits to primary care physicians, and represents half of all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug prescriptions. Osteoarthritis can be extremely painful, whether sitting or standing, as the cartilage between joints wears away. Approximately 80 percent of Americans are expected to suffer from this affliction by the time they are 65 years of age.

To combat this number, Emisphere Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: EMIS) focuses on improved delivery of therapeutic molecules through its Eligen Technology, which can be administered orally or through buccal, rectal, inhalation, intra-vaginal or transdermal methods.

The company today announced that Novartis Pharma AG and Nordic Bioscience have completed recruitment of patients for a multi-center, phase III study of an oral formulation of salmon calcitonin using Emishpere’s Elgin Technology, developed to treat osteoarthritis of the knee.

“The problems associated with osteoarthritis will escalate as the population ages,” said Michael V. Novinski, president and CEO of Emisphere stated in the press release. “This phase III study aims at demonstrating that oral salmon calcitonin, in combination with our Eligen drug delivery technology, may contribute to solving this problem, and also shows that Emisphere is a valuable partner in drug development.”

This study, to be conducted mainly in Europe, will involve more than 1,100 patients between 51 and 80 years old with a medical history and symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. The company expects the study to be completed in the second half of 2010.

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