More MS news articles for September 2002

Maxygen Publishes Novel Approach to Regulation of the Human Immune

Results Present Multiple Opportunities for the Development of Therapeutics To Treat Cancer, Infectious Disease and Autoimmune Disease

September 19, 2002, Thursday 7:00 AM Eastern Time

Maxygen, Inc. (Nasdaq: MAXY) announced today that its scientists have created a series of novel molecules that could be used to treat a variety of diseases including cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmune diseases.  A paper describing the discovery, entitled "Chimeric Costimulatory Molecules That Selectively Act Through CD28 or CTLA-4 on Human T Cells," has been published in the online edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) at and will be available in the hardcopy of the JBC later this year.

This recently published paper describes the creation of CD28 binding protein (CD28BP) and CTLA-4 binding protein (CTLA4BP) that selectively bind to CD28 and CTLA-4, respectively.  CD28 and CTLA-4 are molecules present on the surface of human T-cells that have two separate activities that play a pivotal role in regulation of the immune system.  CD28 stimulates immune responses that, in conjunction with disease-specific antigens, may be beneficial in the treatment and prevention of cancer, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases. CTLA-4 suppresses immune responses, an activity that has potential utility in the treatment of autoimmune disease or to prevent rejection of transplanted tissues.  These molecules typically work together in a complementary fashion to maintain equilibrium of the immune system.

"For years, scientists have attempted to generate molecules with preferential binding to human CD28 or CTLA-4 as a means to stimulate the body's own defense mechanisms to fight disease or to prevent organ rejection," said Juha Punnonen, M.D., Ph.D., Vice President of Vaccine Research and Development for Maxygen.  "These results represent the first time that scientists have been able to separate the two activities thereby creating molecules with novel biological effects on human T-cells, which we believe is an important and encouraging advance in the field of immunotherapeutics."

"CD28BP, in conjunction with a cancer-specific antigen, is currently in preclinical development at Maxygen for colorectal cancer.  This is a potentially powerful immunomodulatory drug that may augment the immune system's ability to recognize and kill cancer cells," said Russell Howard, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Maxygen.  "CTLA-4BP presents a separate opportunity to create novel immunosuppressive drugs for other diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, or for use in conjunction with organ transplants.  The publication of these results validates the power of MolecularBreeding(TM) for the creation of molecules with entirely novel activities and significant potential commercial value, as well as further demonstrates the remarkable talent of our scientists."

Maxygen, Inc. headquartered in Redwood City, California, is focused on creating novel products using its integrated proprietary technologies for human therapeutics and industrial applications. Maxygen's technologies bring together advances in molecular biology and protein modification to create novel biotechnology products. Maxygen has strategic collaborations with leading companies including Aventis, InterMune, Celltech, Lundbeck, ALK-Abello, and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). Additionally, Maxygen has a range of other strategic alliances in industrial applications, as well as funding from U.S.A. government organizations including USAID, DARPA and NIST-ATP.

This news release contains forward-looking statements about our research and business prospects, including those relating to:  the potential disease indications for which CD28 and CTLA4 may be commercially useful; the potential ability of CD28BP to augment the immune systems ability to recognize and kill cancer cells; our ability to create novel immunosuppressive drugs for diseases and our ability to create molecules with novel activities and significant commercial value.  Such statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in these statements. Among other things these risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: the inherent uncertainties of biological research; our inability to produce viable product candidates and commercialize such candidates; changing research and business priorities of Maxygen and its collaborators and our future ability to enter into and/or maintain research and commercialization collaborations.  These and other risk factors are more fully discussed in our Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2001, including under the caption "Risk Factors," and in our other periodic SEC reports, all of which are available from Maxygen at  Maxygen disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement contained in this release as a result of new information or future events or developments.  Maxygen and MolecularBreeding are trademarks of Maxygen.

SOURCE Maxygen, Inc.

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