AMARILLO, TX--(Marketwire - June 29, 2009) -
Amarillo Biosciences, Inc. (ABI) (OTCBB: AMAR
and CytoPharm, Inc. today jointly announced the start of enrollment for a
study of ABI's oral interferon-alpha lozenges for chronic hepatitis C virus
infection. The aim of the trial is to reduce the virologic relapse rate
for those patients who have completed the standard combination therapy,
which consists of high dose injectable interferon-alpha and Ribavirin.
Although most patients respond to the standard therapy, up to 50% of those
with certain "high-risk" viral genotypes relapse after treatment.
The study will be conducted under the direction of Dr. Chau-Ting Yeh at the
Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taipei, Taiwan. A total of 165 patients who
test positive for a "high-risk" hepatitis C viral genotype will receive one
of two different doses of human interferon-alpha or placebo given daily for
24 weeks. Following completion of treatment, patients will be monitored for
relapse for an additional 24 weeks. Full study enrollment is expected by
the end of the year with study completion targeted for the 4th quarter of
Approximately 170 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis C
virus worldwide, with an additional 3-4 million cases occurring each year.
The incidence of cirrhosis in chronic hepatitis C patients is 10 to 20%,
and 1 to 5% develop liver cancer. In addition to sexual and perinatal
transmission, hepatitis C virus infection is common following direct
contact with contaminated blood, typically due to inadequately sterilized
needles and syringes. Currently, there is no effective vaccine against
hepatitis C virus.
Separately, the companies announced that CytoPharm is planning a study of
oral interferon lozenges in the treatment of influenza to be launched
during the 2009/2010 flu season in Taiwan.
About Amarillo Biosciences, Inc.
Amarillo Biosciences, Inc. is a U.S. biotechnology firm operating in global
partnership with the Hayashibara Group, which also holds 7% of Amarillo
Biosciences' shares and has provided over $18 million in loans, grants and
equity investments. The Company's primary focus is extensive and ongoing
R&D into the use of low-dose, orally administered interferon as a treatment
for a variety of conditions, including influenza, hepatitis C, chronic
cough, and opportunistic infections in patients who are HIV positive. In
its 25-year history, the Company has invested nearly $40 million to
establish oral interferon as a therapeutic agent. The majority of those
funds were invested in clinical trials in an effort to achieve FDA approval
for interferon. Additional information is available on the web site at
CytoPharm is a closely held company focusing on the development of
biopharmaceuticals for virus-infected diseases and cancers. It was founded
in 2002 by Ho Tung Chemical, Vita Genomics, and banks and venture capital
firms. It acquired core technologies from Gene Trol Therapeutics, Inc., a
California based company through M&A. Its product pipelines contain a
series of cytokines induced by its proprietary technologies, used for
hepatitis, and cancers. Currently, its product is under clinical trials in
China. Both CytoPharm and Vita Genomics are affiliates of Ho Tung Chemical
Inc., one of the largest petrochemical companies in Taiwan, and a publicly
traded company whose 2008 revenues were approximately NTD 50 billion.
Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters
discussed in this news release are forward-looking statements that involve
risks and uncertainties, including uncertainties related to product
development, uncertainties related to the need for regulatory and other
government approvals, dependence on proprietary technology, uncertainty of
market acceptance of oral interferon or the Company's other product
candidates and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's
filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In particular, see
"Item 1. Description of Business" and "Item 7A. Qualitative and
Quantitative Disclosures About Market Risk" of the Company's Form 10-K for
the fiscal year ended December 31, 2008.