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MethylGene: MG98 Preclinical Synergy Data With Interferon First Disclosed At AACR-National Cancer Institute-EORTC 2003

10/19/2005 5:10:48 PM

MONTREAL--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 18, 2003--MethylGene Inc. announces results of preclinical synergy studies of MG98 in combination with interferon in human renal cancer cells at the 2003 AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Boston, MA, November 17-21, 2003.

MethylGene demonstrates in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic that MG98 pretreatment followed by administration of type 1 interferons results in synergistic induction of apoptosis in renal cancer cells which are either interferon sensitive or highly interferon resistant. The treatment with MG98 alone led to the reactivation of RASSF1A, a gene silenced by methylation in approximately 50% of all human tumors and almost 90% of human renal cancers. The Abstract # A167 is entitled: "Selective depletion of DNA methyltransferase-1 (DNMT1) by MG98 sensitizes renal cancer cells to interferon induced apoptosis."

"This demonstrates that silencing of genes by hypermethylation may contribute to interferon resistance of renal cancer cells, and we have shown that we can reverse the resistance by pretreatment with MG98," commented Dr. Jeffrey Besterman, Senior Vice President of Research and Development. "These results are important for the clinical trial design of our planned Phase II combination trials at sites in the U.S. and Canada next year."

MG98 has been evaluated in clinical trials in both solid and hematological tumors with its corporate partners MGI PHARMA, Inc. and British Biotech/Vernalis. MG98 is a second generation antisense oligonucleotide that inhibits the synthesis of DNA methyltransferase 1. In addition, the company has identified isotype selective small molecule inhibitors of DNA methyltransferase enzymes. These inhibitors are currently under preclinical evaluation and optimization.

About MethylGene

MethylGene Inc. is a private biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of novel and proprietary drugs to treat cancer and infectious diseases. The anti-cancer compound, MG98, partnered with MGI PHARMA in North America and British Biotech/Vernalis in Europe, is currently in clinical trials. The Company's HDAC oncology program has resulted in MGCD0103, an orally active, isotype selective, small molecule inhibitor for which an IND filing is expected next month. Taiho, a leading Japanese oncology company, has Asian rights in oncology in a deal worth US$37.5 million. Pre-clinical small molecule inhibitors of bacterial beta-lactamases to overcome antibiotic resistance are licensed to Merck for worldwide rights in a deal worth US$33.75 million. In addition, the Company has a portfolio of other chemistry driven research programs including HDAC inhibitors for other non-oncology large market indications. For more information about MethylGene, please visit

This press release may contain forward-looking statements pertaining to MethylGene Inc. Such statements are subject to certain risk factors and uncertainties, particularly those inherent in the process of discovering, researching, developing and commercializing drugs that can be proven to be safe and effective for use as human therapeutics and the endeavor of building a business around such potential products. As a result, the reader is cautioned that actual results could differ materially from those projected or assumed around this release.


MethylGene Inc. Don Corcoran, 514-337-3333 Fax: 514-337-0550

Source: MethylGene Inc.

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