Sontra Medical and HortResearch form partnership to develop sports performance technology


Franklin, MA & Auckland, NZ --November 22, 2005 – A unique device, designed to take the sting out of the doctor's needle, could soon help elite athletes and sports teams develop the winning edge.

Sontra Medical Corporation (NASDAQ: SONT) and The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Limited (HortResearch) announced today that they have entered into a research collaboration agreement to evaluate the use of the SonoPrep® skin permeation device for sports performance monitoring.

Sontra also granted HortResearch a one-year option to obtain an exclusive, worldwide license to Sontra's SonoPrep® skin permeation technology for the sports performance field. If HortResearch elects to license the technology, Sontra will receive a license fee consisting of a $500,000 cash payment and equity worth $500,000 in a new company that HortResearch will form to develop and commercialize the technology.

SonoPrep® is a small, battery-powered device that works by applying low-frequency ultrasonic energy to the skin. The sounds waves open small cavities in the skin by disorganizing the lipid bi-layer, creating tiny, reversible channels through which fluids can be extracted and delivered. The skin goes back to its normal state within 24 hours.

Currently marketed by Sontra Medical for accelerating delivery of topical anesthetics, SonoPrep® is also the subject of clinical research in glucose monitoring and enhancing delivery of vaccines.

HortResearch and Sontra will evaluate the device for sports performance monitoring by extracting tiny samples of fluid from beneath the skin of top athletes.

This interstitial fluid contains biochemical markers that provide detailed information on how an athlete's body is responding to training, competition, injury and post-activity recuperation.

HortResearch has studied these markers since 1999, and works with some of Australasia's top professional sports teams, including the Emirates Team New Zealand America's Cup yachting squad. The technology is helping teams improve performance through optimizing training programs and recovery strategies.

HortResearch CEO Paul McGilvary said SonoPrep's non-invasive skin permeation technology will greatly enhance his company's ability to develop commercial products for sports performance monitoring, as well as providing information vital to HortResearch's strategic activities in human health and nutrition.

"HortResearch scientists made the observation that low-frequency ultrasound applied to the skin can facilitate the transdermal sampling for biochemical markers of performance in athletes. Now, thanks to our partnership with Sontra, we are closer to commercializing that knowledge."

Mr. McGilvary said SonoPrep® would allow scientific understanding of human strength development, performance readiness and fatigue recovery to be directly applied in the sporting arena.

"Coaches and trainers often have to rely on instinct and intuition, without scientific backup. Working with sports professionals, HortResearch will use its knowledge to help coaches and trainers create athlete-specific training regimes to better reflect the physical needs and performance requirements of individual athletes."

Sontra's President and CEO, Thomas W. Davison, PhD said his company is pleased to have entered into the research collaboration with HortResearch.

"We are very impressed by HortResearch's vision that athletes can optimize their individual performance by monitoring the body's natural production of endogenous steroids and other natural bio-markers.

"We look forward to working with HortResearch, and believe our collaboration will quickly lead to new and exciting advances in non-invasive sampling and sports performance monitoring."

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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