DALLAS and IRVINE, Calif., Sept. 5 ACCESSPHARMACEUTICALS, INC. (OTC Bulletin Board: ACCP) and SOMANTA PHARMACEUTICALS,INC. (OTC Bulletin Board: SMPM) announced today new data emerging from apre-clinical collaboration with Imperial College London suggests thatSomanta's Angiolix could be effective in the treatment of ovarian cancer. Thework, undertaken in the laboratory of Dr. Mahendra Deonarain of Imperial'sFaculty of Natural Sciences has shown that Angiolix can specifically localizeto human ovarian cancers using three different ovarian cancer types, whilstsparing normal tissues. In addition, high doses of Angiolix were seen to benon-toxic in healthy mice. Examination of tumor tissues usingstate-of-the-art microscopy showed that Angiolix rapidly and evenlydistributes throughout the tumor tissues in the matrix surrounding all thetumor cells.
Angiolix is a humanized monoclonal antibody that recognizes a migratingadhesion molecule called Lactadherin. Data suggests that tumor cells expressLactadherin which is a factor in the proliferation of the vasculature which isnecessary to support tumor growth. Several existing or potential anti-cancerdrugs (such as Avastin(R)) seek to block tumor vascularization by blocking asignaling protein know as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Thebinding of Angiolix to Lactadherin is thought to cause a VEGF independentintegrin receptor signaling cascade that blocks vascular endothelial cellproliferation. Somanta has previously reported the effectiveness of Angiolixin models of human breast cancer.
"This is an important discovery," said Dr. Agamemnon Epenetos, CEO ofSomanta. "We have already understood that Lactadherin is present in breastcancers but had not previously known whether other cancer types express thisfactor. The work with Imperial College London confirms the presence ofLactadherin in ovarian cancer and that Angiolix binds to its target in ovariancancer models. This data opens the door to the potential use of Angiolix fortumors other than breast cancer. Moreover, we are aware that researchers arecurrently experimenting to learn what additional tumor types besides breastand ovarian cancer may express also Lactadherin."
Access and Somanta have entered into a definitive merger agreement forAccess to acquire Somanta. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Accesswill issue 1.5 million shares of common stock to Somanta stockholders inexchange for all the outstanding capital stock of Somanta. The closing of thetransaction is subject to customary closing conditions.
About Imperial College London:
Rated as the world's ninth best university in the 2006 Times HigherEducation Supplement University Rankings, Imperial College London is ascience-based institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching andresearch that attracts 11,500 students and 6,000 staff of the highestinternational quality. The College has 66 Fellows of the Royal Society amongits current academic staff and distinguished past members of the Collegeinclude 14 Nobel Laureates and two Fields Medalists.
Access Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is an emerging biopharmaceutical company thatdevelops and commercializes propriety products for the treatment andsupportive care of cancer patients. Access' products include ProLindac(TM),currently in Phase II clinical testing of patients with ovarian cancer andMuGard(TM) for the management of patients with mucositis. The company also hasother advanced drug delivery technologies including Cobalamin(TM)-mediatedtargeted delivery and oral drug delivery. Access has announced the executionof a definitive merger agreement to acquire Somanta. For additionalinformation on Access Pharmaceuticals, please visit our website athttp://www.accesspharma.com
This press release contains certain statements that are forward-lookingwithin the meaning of Section 27a of the