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TopoTarget A/S Announces New CEO to Prepare Commercialization of Belinostat


2/23/2010 6:49:30 AM

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Feb. 23, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- TopoTarget A/S announced today that Francois Martelet, MD, takes up the position of CEO of TopoTarget in order to add the necessary late-stage clinical development and marketing expertise to ensure a successful development and commercialisation of belinostat, TopoTarget's lead anticancer drug.

"I am delighted that Francois Martelet has accepted the role of CEO of TopoTarget. Francois is extremely well placed to take TopoTarget successfully through the coming development, regulatory process and commercialisation phase of belinostat. He brings a comprehensive experience within international pharma and the oncology field, and in-depth knowledge of the HDACi drug class. His hands-on experience from late-stage clinical development and market introductions of cancer drugs will be a valuable contribution to TopoTarget," said Dr. Haakan AAstrom, chairman of TopoTarget. "Furthermore, I wish to thank Professor Peter Buhl Jensen for his years of dedicated work at TopoTarget, which most recently led to an important partnership deal with Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. regarding belinostat, and earlier the development and market launch of Savene(R)/Totect(R) making a valuable treatment available for cancer patients."

"I am extremely pleased to join TopoTarget. The Company has with its potential best-in-class drug candidate, belinostat, an excellent platform for making a difference in cancer treatment. On top of my agenda is to prepare the commercialisation of belinostat together with Spectrum Pharmaceuticals in North America, and in Europe, in Japan and in the emerging markets," said Dr. Francois Martelet, new CEO of TopoTarget. "I look forward, together with the dedicated team of TopoTarget, to maximising the value of this important asset and to transform the Company into a leading European biotech company within oncology."

"As one of the founders of TopoTarget, I am proud of having been part of bringing the Company from an early-stage biotech company to an international player in the field of cancer," said Professor Peter Buhl Jensen, former CEO of TopoTarget. "Furthermore, I am proud that TopoTarget has been able to attract Dr. Francois Martelet with his documented experience in the cancer area, as well as being confident that Francois has the skills to bring belinostat through late-stage development in order to make belinostat available for cancer patients worldwide."

Dr. Francois Martelet has a solid late-stage development and commercialisation experience from the international pharmaceutical industry, including Merck & Co., Novartis, Schering-Plough, Eli Lilly and Roche. During his time with Merck & Co. (2005-2007), he was Vice President & Worldwide Franchise Head, Oncology, from which position he has gained in-depth knowledge of the HDACi drug class via his role in the global launch of Zolinza(R). More recently (2007-2009), he was President & CEO of AVAX Technologies, Inc., a U.S. biotech company which is specialised in cancer vaccines therapy. Francois Martelet is a bilingual English/French speaker, and commands both German and Swedish. He holds a doctorate with distinction in medicine and a masters degree in business (from the Dijon University of Medicine, Dijon, France), and a degree in legal medicine (Descartes University of Medicine, Paris, France). In addition, he has attended advanced management development programs at both Harvard Business School and INSEAD. Francois Martelet is a French national and 50 years old.

The change of responsibilities will take place with immediate effect. In order to ensure a successful transition, Professor Peter Buhl Jensen will, on a fulltime consultative basis, be available for TopoTarget for a six months period in order to facilitate a satisfactory transfer of knowledge.

This announcement does not change TopoTarget's 2009 full-year financial guidance.

Background information

About TopoTarget

TopoTarget (Copenhagen:TOPO - News) is an international biotech company headquartered in Denmark, dedicated to finding "Answers for Cancer" and developing improved cancer therapies. TopoTarget currently focuses, in collaboration with Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc., on the development in pivotal studies of its lead drug candidate, belinostat, which has shown proof of concept as monotherapy in treating haematological malignancies and positive results in solid tumours. Belinostat can be used in combination with full doses of chemotherapy, and is in a pivotal trial within PTCL (peripheral T-cell lymphoma). TopoTarget's expertise in translational research is based on utilising its highly predictive in vivo and in vitro cancer models. TopoTarget is directing its efforts on key cancer targets, including HDACi, NAD+, mTOR, FASLigand and topoisomerase II inhibitors. The Company's first marketed product, Savene(R)/Totect(R), was approved by EMEA in 2006 and the FDA in 2007, and is marketed by TopoTarget's own sales force in Europe and the U.S. For more information, please refer to www.topotarget.com.

TopoTarget Safe Harbour Statement

This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, including statements about our expectations of the progression of our preclinical and clinical pipeline including the timing for commencement and completion of clinical trials and with respect to cash burn guidance. Such statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. TopoTarget cautions investors that there can be no assurance that actual results or business conditions will not differ materially from those projected or suggested in such forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including, but not limited to, the following: The risk that any one or more of the drug development programs of TopoTarget will not proceed as planned for technical, scientific or commercial reasons or due to patient enrollment issues or based on new information from non-clinical or clinical studies or from other sources; the success of competing products and technologies; technological uncertainty and product development risks; uncertainty of additional funding; TopoTarget's history of incurring losses and the uncertainty of achieving profitability; TopoTarget's stage of development as a biopharmaceutical company; government regulation; patent infringement claims against TopoTarget's products, processes and technologies; the ability to protect TopoTarget's patents and proprietary rights; uncertainties relating to commercialisation rights; and product liability exposure; We disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, unless required by law.

Contact:

TopoTarget A/S Haakan AAstrom, Chairman Mobile: +46 703 747 213

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