PARIS, January 9 ExonHit Therapeutics, a drugand diagnostic discovery company, announced today that it has signed anamendment to its strategic partnership with bioMerieux in the field of cancerdiagnostics. Under the terms of the amendment, ExonHit will gain commercialrights on the diagnostic kits developed through the partnership andbioMerieux will have a greater flexibility to initiate new research anddevelopment projects in that field.
The partnership, initiated in October 2005, is based on ExonHit's geneexpression analysis expertise and intellectual property, and on bioMerieux'sknow-how in the field of in vitro diagnostics. Its goal is to develop DNAmicroarrays to detect cancer markers in blood samples. DNA microarrays areperfectly suitable to detect many nucleic acids allowing the identificationof multigenic diseases such as cancers.
Three programs to develop blood-based cancer diagnostics are currentlyunderway: the first is on breast cancer for which a prospective study isongoing, the second is aimed at colorectal cancers, and the third, targetingprostate cancer, was initiated in January 2007.
As of now, the commercial rights granted will allow ExonHit to market thediagnostic kits developed through the partnership to pharmaceuticalcompanies, or to hospitals taking part in clinical studies, in order to helpthem recruit patients for their clinical studies.
"This amendment is a major step forward in ExonHit's development becauseit allows us to consider generating our own source of revenues from productsbased on our technology which are issued from the collaboration" declaredBruno Tocque, Chairman of the Management Board of ExonHit. "To this end, weare modifying our laboratories and our processes in order to best meet thepharmaceutical industry's specific requirements."
About ExonHit Therapeutics
ExonHit Therapeutics is the world's leader in the analysis of alternativeRNA splicing, a process which when deregulated plays a key role in the onsetof various diseases.
ExonHit has a multi-component commercial strategy to capture the maximumvalue from its leadership in alternative splicing. The Company is alreadygenerating revenues from a new generation of microarrays, SpliceArrayTMfamily of products that enable life science researchers to detect crucialdisease-associated information. These products are marketed worldwide inconjunction with Agilent and Affymetrix. In the field of diagnostics, ExonHithas a major collaboration with bioMerieux to develop completely novelpredictive blood-based cancer diagnostics, which could play a key role inimproving the treatment of breast cancer and other major cancers and developsits own projects for the detection of other chronic diseases such asAlzheimer's disease or atherosclerosis.
In parallel, ExonHit is developing its own therapeutic pipeline in thefield of neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. The Company has advanced drugcandidates into clinical trials and is evaluating several promisingpre-clinical compounds. ExonHit also has a strategic partnership withAllergan, to discover and develop new therapeutics in the areas of pain,neurological diseases and ophthalmology. This collaboration provides on-goingresearch funding to ExonHit.
Founded in 1997, ExonHit is headquartered in Paris, France and has a U.S.facility in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The Company is listed on Alternext ofEuronext Paris (ticker: ALEHT; ISIN: FR0004054427) since November 17, 2005.
This press release includes only summary information and does not purportto be comprehensive. The projections, forecast and estimates of ExonHitTherapeutics which may be contained herein are for illustrative purposes onlyand are based on management's current views and assumptions. Suchprojections, forecast and estimates involve known and unknown risks anduncertainties,