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Sontra Medical And EpiVax Form Research Collaboration To Develop Therapeutic Topical Vaccines



10/20/2005 12:48:14 PM

FRANKLIN, Mass. & PROVIDENCE, R.I., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sontra Medical Corporation and EpiVax, Inc. announced today that they have formed a research collaboration to investigate the topical delivery of EpiVax's therapeutic HIV vaccine and other DNA vaccines. In this collaboration, the companies will investigate the topical delivery of EpiVax's DNA vaccines with the SonoPrep skin permeation device. The companies will first seek to optimize the immune response of the HIV vaccine in animal studies by controlling such variables as dosage, skin area treated, and the vaccine exposure time. EpiVax has developed sophisticated proprietary tools that combine bioinformatics with immunology to sequence proteins and identify the specific protein components that are responsible for creating a protective immune response.

"We believe that the immune response for our DNA vaccines may be optimized through topical delivery and are excited to be working with Sontra in this collaboration," stated Annie S. De Groot M.D., EpiVax's Chief Executive Officer. "We are pleased to have entered into this collaboration because EpiVax is developing promising therapeutic vaccines and their efficacy may be improved through SonoPrep enabled topical delivery," stated Thomas W. Davison, PhD, Sontra's President and Chief Executive Officer.

Sontra's SonoPrep ultrasonic skin permeation device employs low frequency ultrasound to penetrate the skin's outermost layer, the stratum corneum. This simple and fast (average 15 second) treatment creates an imperceptible window through the skin that enables molecules to pass through with 100 times greater efficiency than intact skin. SonoPrep has the potential to deliver vaccines to the viable epidermis to activate the Langerhan cells, which invoke a powerful immune response.

About Sontra Medical Corporation (http://www.sontra.com)

Sontra Medical Corporation is a technology leader in transdermal science. Sontra's SonoPrep ultrasound-mediated skin permeation technology combined with technical competencies in transdermal drug formulation, delivery systems and biosensors is creating a new paradigm in transdermal drug delivery and diagnosis. The SonoPrep technology is being developed for several billion dollar market opportunities, including continuous glucose monitoring and the transdermal delivery of large molecule drugs and vaccines. Sontra is currently marketing the SonoPrep device and procedure tray for use with topical lidocaine to achieve rapid (within five minutes) skin anesthesia.

About EpiVax, Inc. (http://www.epivax.com)

EpiVax is an industry innovator, combining bioinformatics and bench work to create safer vaccines and therapeutic proteins. The company uses its proprietary immunoinformatics and lab-based expertise to identify and confirm immunogenic epitopes, the minimum essential information required for immune response. Current applications include vaccines for infectious diseases and cancer as well as re-engineered monoclonal antibodies and recombinant proteins for therapeutic use.

EpiVax is located in Providence, Rhode Island. The company was founded by Anne De Groot, M.D., a Brown University Associate Professor of Medicine, and incorporated on May 18, 1998. The company is privately held.

About the GAIA HIV Vaccine (http://www.gaiavaccine.org/aug2000.html )

The GAIA HIV vaccine is being developed at EpiVax to combat the expanding epidemic of HIV in the developing world. It is a specially engineered HIV vaccine designed to address the global variability of HIV. The GAIA HIV vaccine research and development program is an NIH funded project at EpiVax directed by EpiVax's CEO, Annie De Groot, who won an Esquire magazine "Genius" award for her work on the vaccine in 2003. Additional collaborators in the development of the GAIA vaccine include Drs Ken Mayer and Michelle Lally at Brown University, David Weiner at University of Pennsylvania, and Ousmane Koita in Mali, West Africa.

Investor Relations Contacts: Sontra Medical Corporation Sean Moran, Chief Financial Officer 508-530-0334 EpiVax, Inc. Annie De Groot M.D. Chief Executive Officer 401-272-2123

SonoPrep is a registered trademark of Sontra Medical Corporation. All other company, product or service names mentioned herein are the trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

This press release contains forward-looking statements, which address a variety of subjects including, for example, the expected benefits and efficacy of the SonoPrep device in connection with diagnostics, vaccine delivery, glucose monitoring and transdermal drug delivery, the expected results of the research collaboration with EpiVax and ability to deliver DNA vaccines topically; the expected market opportunities, distribution and market acceptance of the SonoPrep device and technology, the expected size of the markets for the SonoPrep device and technology, and Sontra's business, research, product development, regulatory approval, marketing and distribution plans and strategies. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements about our beliefs and expectations, are forward-looking statements. Such statements are based on our current expectations and are subject to a number of factors and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. The following important factors and uncertainties, among others, could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in these forward- looking statements: adverse results in research collaborations, product development, clinical trials, product evaluations, commercialization efforts, product distribution and market acceptance; difficulties or delays in obtaining regulatory approvals to market products resulting from development efforts; difficulties or delays associated with sources of regulatory-approved transdermal drugs and vaccines; failure to obtain and maintain patent protection for discoveries; commercial limitations imposed by patents owned or controlled by third parties; dependence upon strategic partners and third- party distributors to develop, commercialize, market and sell products based on our work; the commercial success of products; and the requirement for substantial funding to conduct research and development and to expand commercialization, distribution and marketing activities. For detailed information about factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements, please refer to Sontra's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Sontra's most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-QSB. Forward-looking statements represent management's current expectations and are inherently uncertain. We do not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements made by us.

Sontra Medical Corporation

CONTACT: Sean Moran, Chief Financial Officer of Sontra MedicalCorporation, +1-508-530-0334; or Annie De Groot M.D. Chief ExecutiveOfficer of EpiVax, Inc., +1-401-272-2123


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