Cancer Cell Publishes Onyx Pharmaceuticals' Paper on New
Oncolytic Virus, Onyx-411
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 the company.
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SOURCE Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
-0- 05/20/2002 /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. ST: California IN: MTC BIO PUB MLM SU:
-0- May/20/2002 16:31 GMT