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VITAMED COMPLETES REVERSE TAKEOVER AND INITIAL FINANCING; 'GROWTH BLOCKER' TECHNOLOGY AIMED AT AIDS-RELATED LYMPHOMA

 SEATTLE, April 6 /PRNewswire/ -- VitaMed Inc., a biotechnology company based here, today announced the completion of a share exchange agreement and reverse takeover with First Ivana Technologies Ltd. (Alberta: FIT.A), a federal Canadian corporation.
 Under the agreement, VitaMed Inc. has acquired control of the Canadian public company and will continue operating in the United States as a wholly owned subsidiary. The name of the new public company is VitaMed Biopharmaceuticals Ltd. and will be trading under the symbol "VBL.A" as of today.
 VitaMed, founded in 1992, also said it raised nearly $1 million in a brokered private placement by Canaccord Capital Corp. and VitaMed's Canadian and U.S. affiliates. Canaccord has also entered into a fiscal agency agreement with VitaMed to raise additional financing. Other details were not disclosed.
 Growth Blockers
 According to A. Charles Morgan, Ph.D., president and chief technical officer of VitaMed, the funds will help support research and development of proprietary "growth blocker" drugs -- a new class of non-immunosuppressive biological therapies for the treatment of cancer and other life-threatening diseases marked by uncontrolled cell proliferation.
 "With feasibility of the therapeutic concept already demonstrated and its first growth-blocker patent filed, VitaMed can now accelerate development of its first generation of biological growth blockers that may lack the toxicity and immunosuppressive properties of chemotherapy," said Morgan, a world-recognized cancer researcher and company co-founder.
 Two parallel lines of development will seek to create growth blockers in the form of monoclonal antibodies or synthetic small molecules. The new drugs are being designed to block cell-surface receptors responsible for vitamin B12 uptake. The receptors are common to normal and tumor cells that are actively dividing.
 Studies have shown tumor cells die when deprived of vitamin B12, but normal cells remain alive and may be "rescued" by supplying vitamin B12. Lacking the side effects of chemotherapy, growth blockers would be ideally suited for the treatment of cancers in AIDS patients and others with weakened immune systems.
 AIDS-Related Lymphoma
 VitaMed's initial disease target will be the treatment of AIDS- Related Lymphoma (ARL), a rapidly spreading and highly malignant cancer of the lymph system in AIDS patients. Based on the studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and The Harvard International AIDS Center, ARL is projected to be the most prevalent form of cancer within the next decade.
 With potential application to multibillion dollar markets worldwide, growth blockers may be used to treat solid tumors, rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, antibiotic-resistant infections, organ-transplant rejection and as a marrow protective agent during chemotherapy.
 -0- 4/6/93
 /CONTACT: A. Charles Morgan, Ph.D., president and chief technical officer of VitaMed, 206-778-5260; or Charles Versaggi, Ph.D., of Gable/Versaggi BioCommunications, 408-358-4162, for VitaMed; or Doug Ford (in Canada) of Enterprise Development Corp., 604-685-0114/
 (FIT. VBL.)


CO: VitaMed Inc.; First Ivana Technologies Ltd.;
 VitaMed Biopharmaceuticals Ltd. ST: Washington IN: MTC SU: TNM FNC


JL-MS -- SD005 -- 3312 04/06/93 08:00 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 6, 1993
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