WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 20, 2004--BTG (LSE: BGC), the global technology commercialization company, and Los Angeles-based Cougar Biotechnology today announced that they have signed a license agreement by which Cougar is granted worldwide exclusive rights to develop and commercialize abiraterone acetate, a potential novel therapeutic for treatment of advanced prostate cancer. BTG will receive an upfront cash payment and will benefit from further development milestones and a royalty on sales. Detailed financial terms were not disclosed.
Abiraterone was first synthesized at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in the UK as part of a BTG-funded program to discover a potent selective, orally active drug to inhibit the key enzyme in testosterone synthesis, 17a hydroxylase/C17,20-lyase. Suppression of testosterone synthesis was subsequently demonstrated in patients with prostate cancer.
Dr. Roger Harrison, Vice President and Director of BTG's Oncology Business Unit said, "We are very pleased to have secured a licensing partner with such a clear vision for the development and future clinical application of abiraterone acetate. This deal shows the value that we create for our partners like ICR, and confirms that BTG is an important source of exciting new cancer drugs for the pharmaceutical industry."
Dr. Arie Belldegrun, MD, FACS, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Cougar Biotechnology said, "There is an urgent need for new and effective therapies for patients with advanced prostate cancer who fail first-line hormonal treatment. We believe that abiraterone could fill this void and serve as an important second-line hormonal agent."
Alan H. Auerbach, Chief Executive Officer and President of Cougar Biotechnology added "We are pleased to be able to complete this licensing agreement with BTG for this novel, targeted therapy. We look forward to advancing the development of abiraterone during 2004."
In the US, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men. Approximately one in six American men will develop prostate cancer at some time during their lifetime, and there are approximately 220,900 new cases each year. In the US, the annual death toll from prostate cancer is 28,900. The incidence of prostate cancer in the EU is approximately 142,000, and some 59,700 men die of the disease.
BTG finds, develops and commercializes emerging technologies in the life and physical sciences. These innovations are protected by a strong portfolio of intellectual property that BTG develops and enhances. BTG then captures the value in these technologies through licensing and venturing activities. From the origins of its business in 1949, BTG has commercialized major innovations such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), recombinant factor IX blood-clotting protein, Campath(R) (alemtuzumab) and Multilevel Cell (MLC) memory. BTG is quoted on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol "BGC" and operates from offices in London and Philadelphia, with representation in Tokyo. BTG operates through wholly owned subsidiaries, BTG International Ltd. and BTG International Inc. in the UK and USA, respectively. Further information about BTG can be found at www.btgplc.com.
About Cougar Biotechnology
Cougar Biotechnology, Inc. is a Los Angeles-based private biotechnology company established to in-license and develop early clinical stage drugs, with a specific focus on the field of oncology. Further information about Cougar Biotechnology can be found at www.cougarbiotechnology.com.
About The Institute of Cancer Research
The Institute of Cancer Research is one of the world's leading cancer research organizations and is internationally renowned for the quality of its science. The Institute was founded in 1909 to investigate the causes of cancer and develop new strategies for its prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. Its mission is the relief of human suffering by pursuing excellence in the fight against cancer. The Institute is a College of the University of London and works in a unique partnership with The Royal Marsden Hospital. Together they form Europe's largest comprehensive cancer center. The Institute is a charity that relies on voluntary income. Further information about The Institute of Cancer Research can be found at www.icr.ac.uk.
Lorraine Jones, +44 0 20 7575 1622 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com or
Cougar Biotechnology, Inc. Alan H. Auerbach, +1-310-443-4209 firstname.lastname@example.org or
Firefly Communications Natasha Ayivor, +44 0 20 7386 1479 or
Institute of Cancer Research Marie MacLean, Press Officer, + 44 0 20 7153 5359 email@example.com