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ZaBeCor Pharmaceutical Co. Licenses Its Anti-Inflammatory siRNA Technology To Acuity Pharmaceuticals For Ophthalmic Uses


4/28/2006 10:41:51 AM

PHILADELPHIA, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- ZaBeCor Pharmaceutical Co., a privately-held company focused on the development and commercialization of patented drug technology centered on inflammation, today announced that it has entered into a license option agreement with Acuity Pharmaceuticals, a clinical stage, product-focused ophthalmic pharmaceutical company, with Acuity to receive exclusivity for ophthalmologic uses of ZaBeCor's lead drug candidate Excellair(TM). Excellair(TM), an anti-inflammatory small interfering RNA (siRNA), is designed to silence Syk kinase, a key gene associated with inflammation. Excellair(TM) has shown promising activity and safety in preclinical studies for the treatment of asthma and other inflammatory disorders.

Acuity's lead compound, Cand5, which represents the first-ever clinical use of RNA interference (RNAi) technology, is currently in clinical trials to treat wet age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema (DME).

"We are very pleased to be working with Acuity, a pioneer in RNAi therapeutics with demonstrated capabilities to advance ophthalmic siRNA compounds through the clinical development process," said Dr. Alan Schreiber, founder and scientific chairman of ZaBeCor and professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "The new technology of RNAi enables us to address the Syk kinase target important in the release of inflammatory mediators. This technology has the potential to achieve significant efficacy and safety advantages. We are very pleased that Phoenix IP Ventures has been able to represent us in securing this transaction with Acuity."

"Its broad potential in ocular inflammatory disorders makes ZaBeCor's siRNA an important addition to our pipeline," said Dale Pfost, Ph.D., president and CEO of Acuity. "We intend to apply our growing expertise in the development of novel ophthalmic therapies to advance this compound into clinical trials with the same focus and efficiency we have achieved with Cand5, as exemplified by our announcement today of the successful completion of patient enrollment in our Phase II DME study on-budget and ahead of schedule."

Excellair(TM) silences the Syk kinase gene, a key cell-signaling molecule that has been shown to be central in initiating critical elements of the inflammatory response in a number of disease models. Preliminary data suggest that Excellair(TM) may have utility in inflammatory conditions of the eye, including uveitis and ocular allergies, and it also may have the potential to prevent the inflammation that contributes to vision loss in degenerative conditions such as macular degeneration.

About ZaBeCor Pharmaceutical Co.

ZaBeCor Pharmaceutical Co. is a privately-held company specializing in the development and commercialization of patented drug technology focusing on inflammation. ZaBeCor's lead drug candidate is Excellair(TM), an anti- inflammatory siRNA that is targeted to become a daily dose inhaled medication to prevent asthma attacks in individuals with chronic asthma.

About Acuity Pharmaceuticals

Founded in 2002, Acuity Pharmaceuticals is a product-focused ophthalmic pharmaceutical company applying proprietary technologies to the treatment and prevention of ophthalmic diseases. Acuity's lead clinical compound, Cand5, a small-interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutic targeting VEGF, is in clinical trials for two of the leading causes of adult vision loss. Acuity recently completed a Phase II trial of Cand5 in age-related macular degeneration and is currently conducting a Phase ll trial for diabetic macular edema. Acuity is applying its drug development expertise to a growing pipeline of novel agents for ophthalmic conditions. In support of these programs, Acuity is also developing proprietary technologies for ocular drug delivery. For more information, see the company's website at http://www.acuitypharma.com.

About Phoenix IP Ventures

A Merchant Bank which works in partnership with life sciences companies to maximize the potential value of intellectual property based assets through equity investments, structuring, newco establishment and/or licensing approaches. PIPV works in collaboration with the venture capital or hedge fund communities, as appropriate, to scale its own proprietary investments in transactions identified and managed by the team.

Contact: Lisa Gray, Managing Partner, Phoenix IP Ventures Representing ZaBeCor Pharmaceutical Co. 267-765-3233

ZaBeCor Pharmaceutical Co.

CONTACT: Lisa Gray, Managing Partner of Phoenix IP Ventures,+1-267-765-3233, for ZaBeCor Pharmaceutical Co.



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