Tuesday April 18, 8:24 am Eastern Time
Company Press Release
SAN CARLOS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 18, 2000--Inhale Therapeutic Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:INHL - news) announced today that dosing was initiated for Phase I trials of inhaleable AVONEX® (Interferon beta-1a), the leading drug used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). Inhale and Biogen, Inc. (Nasdaq:BGEN - news), the manufacturer of AVONEX®, are collaborating to develop the inhaleable version of the drug using Inhale's Inhance(TM) drug delivery technology.
"We are pleased that Biogen initiated Phase I clinical trials a little more than a year after we began our collaboration," said Robert Chess, Chairman and co-CEO, Inhale. "Inhaleable AVONEX® will provide a non-injectable and easier-to-administer treatment alternative for people with MS."
Multiple sclerosis is a progressive disease that leads to degeneration of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord resulting in disturbances in vision, muscle weakness and increasing physical and cognitive disability over time. The disease affects an estimated one million people worldwide, with higher incidence in women and those of Northern European origin.
AVONEX®, the leading drug used in the treatment of MS, was the first therapy shown in a pivotal clinical trial to both slow the progression of physical disability and decrease the frequency of clinical exacerbations in relapsing forms of MS. Worldwide, approximately 86,000 patients are now on AVONEX® therapy. AVONEX® sales reached $621 million in 1999, up 55 percent over 1998. Sales continue to rise with Biogen reporting that 2000 first quarter sales increased 33 percent over the same period in 1999 to $174.6 million.
Inhale's Inhance drug delivery platform technology combines innovations in powder technology and inhaling devices to enable efficient and reproducible delivery of inhaleable drugs.
Inhale is pioneering drug delivery systems to easily deliver a range of inhaleable drugs, including peptides, proteins and small molecules, to the deep lung for treatment of systemic and respiratory diseases. The company has development partnerships with several major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including Pfizer, Aventis Behring (formerly Centeon), Biogen and Lilly. Inhale's most advanced program is inhaleable insulin, sponsored by Pfizer, which is in Phase III human clinical trials.
This release contains forward-looking statements that reflect Inhale management's current views as to the company's future products, product developments, intellectual property portfolio, and other future events and operations. These forward-looking statements involve uncertainties and other risks that are detailed in Inhale's reports and other filings with the SEC, including its Form 10-K for the year ending Dec. 31, 1999. Actual results could differ materially from these forward-looking statements.
Note to Editors: AVONEX® (Interferon beta-1a) is a registered trademark
of Biogen, Inc.
Inhale Therapeutic Systems, Inc.
Joyce Strand, 650/631-3138