SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Sept. 21 Exelixis,Inc. (Nasdaq: EXEL) today announced that it has signed an extension of thecompany's research collaboration agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company(NYSE: BMY) to develop and commercialize novel therapies targeted against theLiver X Receptor (LXR), a nuclear hormone receptor implicated in a variety ofcardiovascular and metabolic disorders.
The collaboration, originally established in January of 2005 for a periodof two years, has been extended at Bristol-Myers Squibb's request throughJanuary 12, 2009. Bristol-Myers Squibb also has retained the option to furtherextend the research collaboration by an additional year. Terms of theextension include additional research funding paid to Exelixis in the amountof $7.5M.
"Exelixis and Bristol-Myers Squibb have a history of working efficientlyand productively together, and we have maintained this positive dynamic in ourLXR collaboration," said Michael Morrissey, Ph.D., president of research anddevelopment at Exelixis. "In less than two years, we have made substantialprogress in identifying and optimizing compounds that activate LXR,potentially providing new treatments for cardiovascular and metabolicdiseases, which are diseases with increasing impact."
Under the terms of the collaboration, the two companies jointly identifydrug candidates that are ready for Investigational New DrugApplication-enabling studies. Bristol-Myers Squibb then undertakes furtherpreclinical development and has responsibility for clinical development,regulatory, manufacturing and sales/marketing activities for such compounds.
About the Liver X Receptor
LXR activation by oxysterols (oxidized cholesterol) or by syntheticagonists initiates a cascade of cellular events that both increase "reversecholesterol transport," thereby removing excess cholesterol from the body, andsuppress inflammation. Elevated levels of oxysterols have been implicated inthe progression of heart disease and plaque formation in the artery wall. LXRactivation therefore directly targets two well-known risk factors of heartdisease and provides a novel approach for decreasing the deposition of fat andlipids in the artery wall and suppressing the inflammatory damage associatedwith atherosclerosis. In animal models of heart disease, small moleculesynthetic LXR ligands have been shown to cause regression of pre-existingatherosclerotic lesions. Thus, LXR may be a first-in-class target fortherapies that directly target the pathology of atherosclerosis and coronaryartery disease via a dual mechanism of reverse cholesterol transport andrepression of inflammation.
Exelixis, Inc. is a development-stage biotechnology company dedicated tothe discovery and development of novel small molecule therapeutics for thetreatment of cancer and other serious diseases. The company is leveraging itsfully integrated drug discovery platform to fuel the growth of its developmentpipeline, which is primarily focused on cancer. Currently, Exelixis' broadproduct pipeline includes investigational compounds in phase 2 and phase 1clinical development for cancer and renal disease. Exelixis has establishedstrategic corporate alliances with major pharmaceutical and biotechnologycompanies, including GSK, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Genentech, WyethPharmaceuticals and Daiichi-Sankyo. For more information, please visit thecompany's web site at http://www.exelixis.com.
Forward Looking Statement
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including, withoutlimitation, all statements related to the discovery, development andcommercialization of therapies targeted against the Liver X Receptor (LXR),future performance under the collaboration and the value of LXR as a targetfor therapies for atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. Words such as"potentially" "undertakes," "may" and s