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Abstract on WP1066 Callisto Drug Candidate from Degrasyn Class Selected for Poster Presentation at Scientific Conference on Cancer; Degrasyn Drug Candidate Significantly Reduces Tumor in Animal Model of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

NEW YORK -- Callisto Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (AMEX:KAL) (FWB:CA4), a developer of new drug treatments in the fight against cancer and other major health threats, announced today that an abstract on a WP 1066, a Degrasyn drug candidate, was the subject of a poster presentation at the 97th annual meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) in Washington D.C., April 1-5, 2006, a leading scientific conference in the field of cancer research.

According to the abstract presented at the AACR conference, WP1066 suppressed tumor growth of a serious cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma, indicating that a drug from the Degrasyn class may be efficacious in the treatment of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC).

Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC) is a significant public health problem, affecting 41,000 Americans each year and resulting in 12,000 deaths yearly. Progress in elucidating the fundamental mechanisms of carcinogenesis and metastasis has yielded promising targets for treatment approaches in various cancers. The Degrasyn abstract discusses research into the drug's potential mechanism for treating that cancer and related tumors.

The Abstract (#2413) entitled "A novel inhibitor of STAT3 signaling in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma" describes recent research conducted on WP1066, a drug candidate from the Degrasyn class of anti-cancer compounds recently licensed to Callisto from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. The work was authored by a team of scientists at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center including Drs. Michael Kupferman, Waldemar Priebe, and Jeffrey N. Myers.

"The research on Degrasyns was selected for presentation at the AACR meeting due to the potential interest it holds for the cancer research community," said Dr. Donald Picker, Callisto's Executive Vice President of Research and Development. "The data are promising and suggest avenues for additional development of a Degrasyn drug as a potential treatment for these types of cancers."

The conclusion of the abstract is that WP1066, a STAT3 inhibitor recently shown to have novel ability to specifically degrade key cellular proteins involved in cancer proliferation (given the new drug class designation: Degrasyn), is a novel small molecule inhibitor of the head and neck cell proliferation able to induce suppression of cell proliferation, induction of apoptosis, inhibition of STAT3 phosphorylation and nuclear translocation. In vivo testing of WP1066 demonstrated significant anti-tumor effects. WP1066 displayed potent effects on tumor growth in an orthotopic model of HNSCC with histological evidence of decreased cellular proliferation and angiogenesis. Collectively, these data suggest that inhibition of STAT3-mediated signaling with WP1066 suppresses squamous cell carcinoma cell growth and may be efficacious in the treatment of patients with HNSCC.

About Degrasyns

Degrasyns represent a new class of drugs that was designed and synthesized by Dr. Waldemar Priebe and coworkers of M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and were licensed to Callisto Pharmaceuticals from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in January, 2006. The novel anti-cancer activity of these analogs, developed by scientists at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, relates to their ability to selectively degrade key proteins that are involved in tumor cell proliferation and survival and STAT3 proliferation. So far, this degradation appears to be specific for C-MYC, BCR-ABL and JAK2, all important targets for a wide range of important tumors.

About Callisto Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Callisto is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of new drugs to treat various forms of cancer and other serious afflictions. Callisto's drug candidates in development currently include anti-cancer agents in clinical development, in addition to drugs for other significant health care markets, including ulcerative colitis and biodefense. One of the Company's lead drug candidates, L-Annamycin, is being developed as a treatment for forms of relapsed acute leukemia, a currently incurable blood cancer. Callisto initiated a clinical trial of L-Annamycin in adult relapsed acute lymphocytic leukemia patients in 4Q 2005. L-Annamycin, a new compound from the anthracycline family of proven anti-cancer drugs, has a novel therapeutic profile, including activity against resistant diseases and significantly reduced cardiotoxicity, or damage to the heart, compared to currently available drug alternatives. Another anti-cancer drug, Atiprimod, is in development to treat relapsed multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, and advanced carcinoid cancer. Atiprimod is presently in Phase I/IIa human clinical trials in relapsed multiple myeloma patients, and advanced cancer patients, respectively. Callisto also has drugs in preclinical development for gastro-intestinal inflammation, and a program focused on the development of a drug to protect against Staphylococcus and Streptococcus biowarfare agents. Callisto has exclusive worldwide licenses from AnorMED Inc. and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center to develop, manufacture, use and sell Atiprimod and L-Annamycin, respectively. For investor-specific information about Callisto, including recent news and stock price data, please visit For an Investor Fact Sheet about Callisto, please visit To view an informational presentation of the Company's development pipeline of drug candidates, visit Callisto is also listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol CA4. For additional information, visit

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements made in this press release are forward-looking. Such statements are indicated by words such as "expect," "should," "anticipate" and similar words indicating uncertainty in facts and figures. Although Callisto believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements will prove to be correct. As discussed in the Callisto Pharmaceuticals Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2005, and other periodic reports, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of the following factors, among others: uncertainties associated with product development, the risk that products that appeared promising in early clinical trials do not demonstrate efficacy in larger-scale clinical trials, the risk that Callisto will not obtain approval to market its products, the risks associated with dependence upon key personnel and the need for additional financing.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Apr 10, 2006
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