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AVI BioPharma and Collaborators Announce Positive Results With NEUGENE Antisense Drugs at American Society for Virology Annual Meeting.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- AVI BioPharma, Inc. (Nasdaq:AVII), today announced that the American Society for Virology (ASV) has selected seven collaborative projects between AVI BioPharma and various academic and government laboratories for presentation at the ASV 2005 annual meeting. The meeting will be held at Penn State University's University Park campus June 18-22.

"These studies add to the considerable body of research about our NEUGENE(R) antisense drug technology," said Patrick L. Iversen, Ph.D., senior vice president of research and development at AVI. "Although not all of the targeted viruses represented in these studies are candidates for clinical development, they provide additional confidence that our antiviral program will lead to the development of highly efficacious new therapies for major unmet medical needs. The intellectual property generated has broad applications to multiple viral species that we are evaluating."

Each of the seven research projects selected for presentation generated positive data using AVI's NEUGENE antisense technology. Five of the reports will be given as oral presentations, and two will be in poster format.

Oral Presentations of NEUGENE Antisense Studies

--Dr. Richard Kinney of the Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in Fort Collins, Colo., will present an update on the ongoing collaborative dengue virus investigation between AVI and CDC. Dr. Kinney's report is titled "Inhibition of Dengue Virus Serotypes 1 to 4 in Vero Cell Culture with Morpholino Oligomers." Data from recent experiments included in the presentation demonstrated that two AVI morpholino compounds could extend life of dengue-virus-infected mice in a statistically significant manner. Each morpholino compound was administered in two treatments near the time of virus infection, and both compounds were demonstrably nontoxic to the test animals.

--Dr. Rene Rijnbrand of University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, will present "In Vitro Antiviral Activities of Phosphorodiamidate Morpholino Oligomers Targeting Sindbis Virus." Sindbis virus is a model virus for the Alphavirus group, which contains the highly pathogenic and weaponizable Eastern, Western and Venezuelan equine encephalitis viruses.

--Rheba Watkins of the Center for Pediatrics Research, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Va., will present "Blockade of Expression of a Growth Factor Homologue Viral Interleukin 6 of Human Herpes Virus 8." Human herpes virus 8 is associated with several malignant disorders, such as Kaposi's sarcoma, primary effusion lymphoma and Castleman's disease.

--Dr. Elizabeth Reider's laboratory from the USDA's Plum Island Animal Disease Center in Greenport, N.Y., will present "Inhibition of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus in Vitro with Antisense Morpholino Oligomers."

--Erwin van den Born from the lab of Dr. Eric Snijder at the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands will present "Complete Inhibition of Equine Arteritis Virus Replication by Specific Antisense Morpholino Oligomers." These researchers demonstrate that virus replication could be completely inhibited by morpholino concentrations in the low micromolar range.

Poster Presentations of NEUGENE Antisense Studies

--Research from the lab of Dr. Ramon Flick, University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, titled "Antisense Morpholino Oligomers Directed Against Bunyaviruses Genome Segments Inhibit Replication and Proliferation," will be presented. This study documents the high efficacy of morpholino oligomers against two Bunyaviruses, one of which, Rift Valley fever virus, is on the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Category A Priority Pathogen list.

--Dr. Yanjin Zhang of Eastern Virginia Medical School will present "Suppression of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV) by Morpholino Antisense Oligomers." This report and the one from Dr. Reider's lab describe successful inhibition by morpholino oligomers of the viruses that cause highly contagious diseases of farm animals, which can lead to severe economic loss to the livestock production and export industries.

About AVI BioPharma

AVI BioPharma develops therapeutic products for the treatment of life-threatening diseases using third-generation NEUGENE antisense drugs. AVI's lead NEUGENE antisense compound is designed to target cell proliferation disorders, including cardiovascular restenosis, cancer and polycystic kidney disease. In addition to targeting specific genes in the body, AVI's antiviral program uses NEUGENE antisense compounds to combat disease by targeting single-stranded RNA viruses, including West Nile virus, hepatitis C virus, dengue virus and Ebola virus. More information about AVI is available on the company's Web site at

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: The statements that are not historical facts contained in this release are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, the results of research and development efforts, the results of preclinical and clinical testing, the effect of regulation by the FDA and other agencies, the impact of competitive products, product development, commercialization and technological difficulties, and other risks detailed in the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 20, 2005
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