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Bionovo Announces Publication of Data on Potential Increase in Breast Cancer Risk Due to the Inhibitory Effect of Tamoxifen Treatment on Estrogen Receptor Beta

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 General News J E 4
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EMERYVILLE, Calif., Oct. 20 Bionovo Inc. (Nasdaq: BNVI) announced today the publication of results from its study on the inhibitory effect of tamoxifen on estrogen receptor beta (ERb) gene regulation. The results of the study, which will be published in Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, demonstrate that tamoxifen inhibits the beneficial effects of ERb in the prevention of breast cancer cell proliferation.

"Tamoxifen has been successfully used to treat and prevent breast cancer. However, some breast tumors become resistant to its effects. So, it is critical to discover new estrogens that work through a different mechanism," stated Dr. Dale Leitman, the Principal Investigator of the study. "In this publication, we demonstrate that genes regulated by estrogen receptor beta, which has the positive effect of preventing the growth of breast cancer cells, are directly inhibited by tamoxifen. The inhibition of the beneficial effect of ERb in breast cancer cells could potentially lead to unwanted outcomes for breast cancer patients who are treated with tamoxifen."

Since the discovery of ERb, various studies have demonstrated that this receptor plays an important role in preventing breast cancer cell proliferation and tumor formation. These studies indicate that ERb is an important therapeutic target for drugs in development for breast cancer treatment and prevention. It has also been shown that approximately 40% of breast tumors express ERb, which suggests that this large subset of tumors could be inhibited by selective ERb drugs. This publication describes the effect of tamoxifen on hormone independent regulation of genes by ERb that are important in preventing the proliferation of breast cancer cells. The study shows that the pattern of gene expression by ligand independent regulation by ERb is inhibited by the administration of tamoxifen in estrogen dependent breast cancer cells. Moreover, this study shows that tamoxifen inhibits the recruitment of important coregulatory proteins to the receptor, which demonstrates that the effect observed is directly due to the interaction of tamoxifen with ERb.

"It is critical to develop new strategies to prevent and treat breast cancer. The knowledge we obtained from the positive clinical effects of tamoxifen combined with recent discoveries of the different roles played by the two estrogen receptors is critical for the future generation of therapies for this important indication," said Dr. Isaac Cohen, Chairman and CEO of Bionovo, Inc. "Bionovo has been developing methods to discover more selective drugs for breast cancer treatment and prevention and, to date, has identified numerous ERb-selective drugs. Dr. Leitman's study provides the biological rationale for advancing ERb drugs for the treatment of breast cancer, which we feel will be important, novel therapies for this indication."

Bionovo, Inc.

Bionovo is a pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of safe and effective treatments for women's health and cancer, markets with significant unmet needs and billions in potential annual revenue. The company applies its expertise in the biology of menopause and cancer to design new drugs derived from botanical sources which have novel mechanisms of action. Based on the results of early and mid-stage clinical trials, Bionovo believes they have discovered new classes of drug candidates within their rich pipeline with the potential to be leaders in their markets. Bionovo is headquartered in Emeryville, California and is traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol, "BNVI". For more information about Bionovo and its programs, visit: http://www.bionovo.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains certain forward-looking statements relating to the business of Bionovo, Inc. that can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "believes," "expects," or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, including uncertainties relating to product development, efficacy and safety, regulatory actions or delays, the ability to obtain or maintain patent or other proprietary intellectual property protection, market acceptance, physician acceptance, third party reimbursement, future capital requirements, competition in general and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from those described herein as anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Certain of these risks and uncertainties are or will be described in greater detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are available at http://www.sec.gov. Bionovo, Inc. is under no obligation (and expressly disclaims any such obligation) to update or alter its forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

SOURCE Bionovo, Inc.
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