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Media Advisory

Not for publication

June 15, 2004 -- No. 320

Moeser to visit Inspire Pharmaceuticals as part of ‘Carolina Connects’ initiative

Wednesday (June 16), 3 p.m.
Inspire Pharmaceuticals
4222 Emperor Blvd., Suite 470, Durham

Media representatives are invited to join University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser on a tour of Inspire Pharmaceuticals’ facilities. Moeser, Christy Shaffer, Inspire’s chief executive officer, and other officials will be available for interviews.

Inspire Pharmaceuticals is UNC’s most successful spin-off. In the early 1990s, Dr. Richard Boucher and his research team at UNC’s Cystic Fibrosis Research Center discovered that the molecule Uridine triphosphate, or UTP, could potentially add moisture to airway surfaces and help clear the lungs and sinuses of dust, viruses and bacteria. Working with UNC’s Office of Technology Development, Boucher and his colleagues brought this discovery to the marketplace.

Inspire began operations in 1995 and is recognized as a leader in discoveries potentially crucial in treating diseases that involve deficiencies in the body’s ability to protect lungs, eyes, sinuses and other mucosal surfaces. Inspire has discovered and developed potential drug candidates for treating dry eye, cystic fibrosis, retinal disease and other medical conditions.

In January, Inspire completed the hiring and training of a 64-person specialty sales team to promote two recently launched ophthalmology products (in partnership with Allergan); in 2003, The Scientist magazine named Inspire as the best place for scientists in industry to work in the category of U.S. business with fewer than 500 employees. Inspire currently has about 150 employees.

Moeser’s visit is part of his new initiative called "Carolina Connects," which seeks to strengthen the connections between the university and the lives of North Carolinians and their communities. In the next several months, Moeser will visit all of the state’s regions to highlight the many ways in which the university serves the communities and people of North Carolina.

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Contacts: Lisa Katz, (919) 962-2093 or 638-0474 (cell); or Deb Saine, (919) 962-8415 or deborah_saine@unc.edu