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Conforma Therapeutics Corporation Acquires Late Stage Anti-C


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Conforma Therapeutics Corporation Acquires Late Stage Anti-Cancer Compound from Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd.

Conforma Therapeutics Corporation and Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. (Osaka, Japan) announced today that they have reached a licensing agreement for Amrubicin HCl (Amrubicin), a third-generation, totally synthetic anthracycline anti-cancer drug. Conforma has obtained exclusive rights, including sublicensing rights, to develop and market Amrubicin in North America and Europe. Amrubicin is currently approved and marketed in Japan for small-cell and non-small-cell lung cancer (under the brand name Calsed). Sumitomo will manufacture the product for worldwide distribution. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Amrubicin has demonstrated encouraging clinical results and pre-clinical results in Japan, leading to its marketing approval in December 2002. Conforma plans to initiate Phase 2 trials in the United States and Europe in early 2006.

"Amrubicin represents an exciting advance in a proven and important class of anti-cancer agents," said Robert De Jager, M.D., vice president, clinical research and development and chief medical officer of Conforma. "Pre-clinical and clinical data suggest that Amrubicin is not only more active than traditional anthracyclines but also appears to be free of the cumulative cardiotoxicity which has limited the utility of this class of drugs. Sumitomo has seen strong results in Japan that warrant clinical exploration in the United States and Europe. We are eager to bring forward this new option for cancer patients."

"Conforma is committed to the development and commercialization of important drugs for the treatment of cancer, and the addition of Amrubicin is consistent with this vision," said Lawrence C. Fritz, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Conforma. "We are pleased that Sumitomo shares our confidence in Conforma's development team and we look forward to our collaboration."

"Sumitomo is committed to the rapid development and commercialization of Amrubicin worldwide to help treat more patients afflicted with cancer," said Mr. Ken-ichiro Kimura, executive vice president, of Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals. "We are confident that our collaboration with Conforma will accelerate this effort in North America and Europe."

Conforma plans to investigate Amrubicin initially in small-cell lung cancer in the United States and Europe, and then expand to additional oncology indications. More than 60,000 new cases of small-cell lung cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States and Europe. Lung cancers are the primary cause of cancer deaths world wide and effective treatment options for these patients remains a major unmet need.

About Amrubicin

Amrubicin is a third generation anthracycline and the world's first purely synthetic anthracycline anticancer drug. In pre-clinical studies, Amrubicin demonstrated a higher level of anti-tumor activity than conventional anthracycline drugs without exhibiting any indication of the cumulative cardiac toxicity common to this class of compounds. Amrubicin has been administered to over 2,000 patients without any incidence of cumulative cardiotoxicity to date. Amrubicin has been proven to be effective in non-small-cell and small-cell lung cancer in clinical trials conducted in Japan. Sumitomo launched the drug in Japan as Calsed in December, 2002. Additional clinical trials are currently being conducted by Sumitomo in Japan using Calsed in lung cancers and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Calsed is sold in Japan as an injectable freeze-dried preparation, indicated for use in non-small-cell lung cancer and small-cell lung cancer.

About Conforma Therapeutics

Conforma Therapeutics, a San Diego-based biopharmaceutical company, is focused on the design and development of novel drugs for the treatment of cancer. Conforma's internal discovery efforts have been focused on drugs that target the cellular HSP90 family of molecular "chaperones" that control protein shape or conformation, including that of key signaling molecules involved in the growth and survival of tumor cells. HSP90-directed drugs selectively induce the degradation of these cancer-promoting proteins, leading to tumor cell death. Conforma is conducting Phase I clinical trials with its lead HSP90 product, CNF1010, for the treatment of cancer and plans to initiate clinical testing of its second, orally administered HSP90 product, CNF2024, in the third quarter of 2005. Further information regarding Conforma is available at www.conformacorp.com.

About Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd.

Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd., headquartered in Osaka, Japan, was established in 1984 through the merger of the pharmaceutical divisions of Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. and Inabata and Co., Ltd. The company has since then concentrated on building a sound business infrastructure by creating a national sales network in Japan. In addition to such a primary business strategy, Sumitomo has been extending research and development capabilities for globally successful products. Sumitomo is currently developing several compounds through its local subsidiaries in Europe and the United States. One of the major products is meropenem, a carbapenem antibiotic for severe infection, which was discovered by Sumitomo's research laboratories and has been marketed worldwide by its licensee, AstraZeneca, since 1994. Further information regarding Sumitomo is available at http://www.sumitomopharm.com/.

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