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 BOSTON and GENEVA, Switzerland, Sept. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ares- Serono Group today announced that the company is initiating Phase II/III clinical trials on use of its recombinant beta interferon, Rebif(TM), for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Some 300,000 Americans currently suffer from multiple sclerosis, a chronic debilitating disease.
 Trials have begun in Europe and multi-center trials are planned, including North America and Australia later this year. The company is aiming for European registration by the mid-1990s. Rebif is already registered in Italy for chronic viral hepatitis B and C, hairy cell leukemia, genital herpes and as adjutant therapy for breast and uterine cancers. The recombinant beta interferon has been developed using mammalian cell technology.
 Rebif is biologically equivalent to the natural beta interferon, Frone(R), that Ares-Serono already markets. Ares-Serono has been producing and marketing this native beta interferon since 1983 for a variety of indications. It is available in 10 countries and the company also is considering investigating Frone use in the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.
 Ares-Serono's beta interferons, Rebif and Frone, are the result of research carried out in the mid-1970s by Professor Michel Revel of the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, in collaboration with Ares- Serono's Israeli affiliate, InterPharm Laboratories Ltd. (IPL) (NASDAQ: IPLLF). IPL manufactures native beta interferon in bulk, which is the active ingredient in Frone, and has invested, together with Ares- Serono, in the construction at IPL of a production facility for Rebif.
 Multiple sclerosis, a central nervous system disorder, affects young adults and is the most common disabling disease in this age group. It is characterized by dysregulation of the immune system which results in the destruction of certain cells. In multiple sclerosis, the body no longer recognizes its own cells and thus destroys the sheath that protects the nerves necessary for message transmission within the central nervous system.
 Beta interferon is thought to counteract the immune dysregulation thus reducing the frequency of attacks and therefore possibly preventing the deterioration of the central nervous system and ensuing disability. Beta interferon may also offset the disease enhancing effects of gamma interferon, another type of interferon which might trigger attacks of multiple sclerosis. It also boosts the effects of T-suppressor cells, which counteract the undesirable immune reactions seen in attacks.
 Beta interferon is a cytokine, a biological messenger that is produced naturally by the body and plays an essential role in the immune system. The immune system serves to defend the body against invading micro-organisms such as viruses and bacteria.
 The Ares-Serono Group is a leading Swiss developer and marketer of pharmaceutical and diagnostic products with executive headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The group operates subsidiaries and production facilities in more than 20 countries. Shares of Ares-Serono S.A., the parent company of the Group, are traded on the Swiss stock exchanges.
 -0- 9/28/93
 /CONTACT: Gina Cella, 617-982-9000, for Ares-Serono/

CO: Ares-Serono Group ST: Massachusetts IN: MTC SU:

WB-CK -- NY064 -- 6428 09/28/93 14:05 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 28, 1993

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