More MS news articles for June 2001

Viron Therapeutics Inc. Licenses Novel Anti-Inflammatory Protein to Xenova Group PLC

Tuesday June 12 10:51am
Source: PR Newswire

LONDON, ON and SLOUGH, U.K., June 12 /PRNewswire/ - Viron Therapeutics Inc., a privately held Canadian biotechnology company developing viral proteins as novel anti-inflammatory therapeutics, announced today the license of an undisclosed novel anti-inflammatory protein to Xenova Group PLC, a public U.K. pharmaceutical company (Nasdaq NM: XNVA; London Stock Exchange: XEN). While the terms and conditions of this license remain confidential, Xenova will be progressing with the research & development of the licensed anti-inflammatory protein in a variety of inflammatory disease conditions. Under the terms of this agreement, Xenova receives exclusive sublicense to commercialize the intellectual property held by Viron with regard to the novel protein and its therapeutic uses. In addition, Viron and Xenova will collaborate to test the efficacy of this protein in a variety of disease models.

"This collaboration with Xenova continues Viron's mission to develop our viral protein platform. We anticipate a productive long-term relationship with Xenova", remarked William A. McGinnis, Vice-Chair, Viron Therapeutics Inc.

Nick Hart, Commercial Director, Xenova Group plc commented, "We see this protein therapeutic having broad clinical applications, making this an exciting and a potentially substantial opportunity for Xenova and Viron."

Inflammatory diseases include a variety of clinical indications associated with imbalance of the human inflammatory response. Inflammation is a highly regulated cascade designed to respond to tissue injury or infection. This process is controlled by various different factors within the bloodstream that maintain a balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory environments. Ideally, this regulation constrains the human inflammatory response to a localized site for the short duration required to clear infection or injury. However, when this regulation becomes unbalanced, human inflammatory responses can occur at inappropriate tissue sites or can become excessive in extent or duration. In these cases, the inflammatory cascade may cause harmful infiltration and loss of function among various critical human tissues. These inflammatory diseases include: immune-mediated disorders (including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, acute transplant rejection), cardiovascular disorders (including angioplasty restenosis, by-pass graft occlusion, transplant vasculopathy) and other disorders (including asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic transplant rejection).

Viron Therapeutics Inc.

As a spin-off of The John P. Robarts Research Institute (London, Ontario) in 1997, Viron Therapeutics Inc. became one of the first biotechnology companies to exploit the discovery that viral proteins can be used to inhibit the immune system. The Company is focused upon the commercialization of novel anti-inflammatory therapeutics and is currently developing several therapeutic proteins identified from viral sources to treat a range of inflammatory and immune-based disorders. The emphasis upon viral proteins emphasizes the emergence of a novel drug development approach that is unique in the current biotechnology industry. Integrating numerous core competencies within the Company to expedite the development of these viral anti-inflammatory proteins Viron has established a sustainable and rich product pipeline. Viron's current product development pipeline consists of: Serine Proteinase Inhibitors (VT-100 Series), Chemokine Binding Proteins (VT-200) and Cytokine Binding Proteins (VT- 300 Series). For further information regarding Viron, please visit

Xenova Group plc

Following the merger with Cantab, Xenova Group plc's product pipeline focuses principally on the therapeutic areas of cancer, infectious diseases and addiction. The Group has a well-established track record in the identification, development and partnering of innovative products and technologies. Currently, major products under development include:

    - XR9576 (Phase IIa clinical trials complete) -- a P-gp pump inhibitor
      that is designed to combat multi-drug resistance in cancer.
    - TA-HPV (Phase II clinical trials) -- an immunotherapeutic vaccine,
      designed to prevent the recurrence of cervical cancer.
    - TA-CIN (Phase I clinical trials) -- a recombinant fusion protein,
      designed as a treatment for women with cervical dysplasia.
    - DISC-GMCSF (Phase I clinical trials) -- an immunotherapeutic vaccine
      designed as a treatment for a broad range of solid tumours.
    - XR11576 -- (Pre-clinical development) -- a dual topoisomerase I and II
      inhibitor, designed as an orally administrable cytotoxic.

    Infectious Diseases
    - TA-HSV (Phase II clinical trials) -- a vaccine designed for the
      treatment of recurrent genital herpes, partnered with GlaxoSmithKline.
    - DISC-PRO ((Phase I clinical trials complete) -- a prophylactic vaccine
      designed for the prevention of genital and oro-labial herpes.

    - TA-CD (Phase IIa clinical trials complete) -- a vaccine for the
      treatment of cocaine addiction.
    - TA-NIC (Pre-clinical development) -- a vaccine designed as a treatment
      for nicotine dependence.
    - The Group has partnerships with a number of major pharmaceutical
      companies including Glaxo SmithKline, Lilly, Pfizer and Celltech.

For further information about Xenova and its products please visit the Xenova website at

Safe Harbor Statement under the US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Some or all of the statements in this document that relate to future plans, expectations, events, performances and the like are forward- looking statements, as defined in the US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results of events could differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors, including those set forth in the Company's filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Source: Viron Therapeutics Inc.
Contact: Viron Therapeutics Inc., Tel: 519-858-5109, William A. McGinnis: Vice-Chair; Xenova Group plc, Tel: +44 (0) 1753 706600, Hilary Reid Evans: Corporate Communications