RICHMOND, Calif., May 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --
Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ONXX) today announced that a paper
describing its new virus, ONYX-411, had been published on-line in Cancer Cell
(May 2002, Volume1 (4)), a leading scientific journal in the field of cancer
research (www.cancercell.org). In the paper entitled, "Selectively
Replicating Adenoviruses Targeting Deregulated E2F Activity Are Potent,
Systemic Anti-Tumor Agents," lead author, Leisa Johnson, Ph.D., and colleagues
describe the construction and properties of ONYX-411. This novel virus
replicates selectively in cancer cells and not in normal cells. This
selectivity is based on defects that nearly all cancer cells have in a pathway
that controls normal cell replication, known as the Rb pathway.
In the same issue of Cancer Cell, in a preview article written by
Thomas W. Dubensky, Jr., of Cerus Corporation, Dr. Dubensky opines, " ... the
potency and selectivity of ONYX-411 could be an important step to making a
selectively replicating adenovirus that can be used for systemic treatment."
Onyx Pharmaceuticals has pioneered the development of cancer-selective
viruses as cancer therapeutics by utilizing the genetic differences between
normal and cancer cells. Its compound, ONYX-015, is currently being evaluated
in a Phase III clinical trial in recurrent head and neck cancer as well as in
other cancers in earlier-stage human clinical trials. ONYX-015 has been
engineered to lose the ability to inactivate a key regulatory protein known as
p53 in healthy cells. Because p53 functions have already been eliminated in
cancer cells, when ONYX-015 infects normal cells, the virus growth proceeds
and cancer cells are killed.
ONYX-411 has been similarly engineered to target cancer cells that have
lost control of the regulatory pathway known as Rb, but not healthy cells that
maintain a properly controlled Rb pathway. Onyx recently reported at the
annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research that ONYX-411
can be used as a vector for tumor-selective expression of genes, to further
enhance the killing power of this virus.
Leonard E. Post, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Research and Development,
commented, "The data in this paper shows that while ONYX-015 is the first
generation of an entirely new kind of cancer therapy, there are opportunities
for construction of viruses with improved potency and selectivity. We believe
that ONYX-411, or a derivative that is armed with a gene to further improve
anticancer activity, will be the next virus product in development for Onyx."
Onyx Pharmaceuticals is engaged in the discovery and development of novel
cancer therapies. Based on its proprietary technologies that target the
molecular basis of cancer, the company is developing two lead products,
BAY 43-9006 and ONYX-015. For more information about Onyx's pipeline and
activities, visit the company's web site at www.onyx-pharm.com.
This press release may contain certain forward-looking statements
regarding the development of potential human therapeutic products that involve
a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual events may differ from the
company's expectations. In addition to the matters described in this press
release, the timeline for clinical activity, results of pending or future
clinical trials, dependency on third parties to manufacture our products, and
changes in the status of the company's collaborative relationships, as well as
the risk factors listed from time to time in the company's periodic reports
filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including but not limited
to its Annual Report on Form 10-K, may affect the actual results achieved by
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SOURCE Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
/CONTACT: Shari Annes of Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., +1-510-262-8775/
/Web site: http://www.cancercell.org/
/Web site: http://www.onyx-pharm.com/
CO: Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
IN: MTC BIO PUB MLM
-0- May/20/2002 16:31 GMT
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