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Cypress Announces Pilot Program With HemaCare Program Makes PROSORBA Column Treatment More Accessible to Physicians.

Business Editors/Health and Medical Writers

SAN DIEGO--(BW HealthWire)--March 13, 2000

Cypress Bioscience Inc. (Nasdaq:CYPB) today announced a cooperative program with HemaCare (OTCBB:HEMA), one of the leading providers of apheresis treatments in the country, to offer more convenient delivery of PROSORBA(R) column treatments.

The agreement with HemaCare provides a procedure by which the PROSORBA column treatments can be administered in select rheumatologists' offices in California and New York on a pilot basis, as opposed to outpatient hospital settings, which is the only current place where the PROSORBA column treatments are administered.

"Making PROSORBA column treatments available in non-hospital settings offers benefits to both patients and physicians," said Jay D. Kranzler, M.D., Ph.D., chief executive officer and chairman of the Board of Cypress. "The joint program will provide a turnkey operation for rheumatologists who can then focus on providing medical care to their patients throughout the 12-week course of treatment."

Office based physicians do not typically employ the personnel or have the equipment required to offer PROSORBA column or other infusion treatments in their office. Through the relationship with HemaCare, however, the pilot program will provide the training, equipment and nursing support necessary to safely administer PROSORBA column treatments, and as an additional service to the rheumatologist, drug infusion services in the physician's office. Cypress will offer management support services to assist the physician practice as part of a comprehensive service program.

"HemaCare has had extensive historic experience with the PROSORBA column as we have been administering PROSORBA column treatment in the hospital for Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), the Column's earlier approved indication, for several years," said Joshua Levy, M.D., rheumatologist, and medical director of HemaCare. "We have also been providing PROSORBA Column treatment for rheumatoid arthritis since April of 1999 and therefore have a keen understanding of patients' needs during this treatment, as well as a highly trained staff able to address those needs and make the treatment as comfortable as possible. HemaCare is committed to expanding its therapeutic apheresis service in California and nationally. This cooperative pilot program will allow us to increase the PROSORBA column apheresis services we offer by expanding those services beyond the hospital setting. We hope to enroll 3-5 rheumatology office sites in the pilot program this year."

The PROSORBA column is indicated for use in the therapeutic reduction of the signs and symptoms of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis in adult patients with long standing disease who have failed or are intolerant to disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). In the double-blinded, sham-apheresis controlled Phase III clinical trial of the PROSORBA column for rheumatoid arthritis, nearly half of the patients who completed all 12 PROSORBA treatments showed significant clinical improvement by stringent American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria.

The response was often durable, lasting up to 84 weeks in some patients. The patients had a statistically significant reduction in swollen and tender joint counts, as well as other improvements, and their response was maintained in the absence of any other DMARD therapy during and after treatment. The study enrolled 109 patients who were considered the most severely affected of the rheumatoid arthritis population and in need of therapeutic options, having suffered from the disease for an average of 15.5 years (1.7 years minimum to 50.6 years maximum disease duration for the Prosorba column patients) and having failed an average of 5 different DMARD regimens.

About Cypress Bioscience Inc.

Cypress Bioscience Inc. develops and markets the PROSORBA column and therapeutics for the treatment of certain types of immune disorders and is engaged in the development of novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of blood platelet disorders.

In March 1999, the company entered into an agreement that granted Fresenius AG and Fresenius Hemotechnology Inc. an exclusive license to manufacture and distribute the PROSORBA column in the U.S., Europe and certain other territories. In April 1999, Cypress and Fresenius launched sale of the PROSORBA column for the treatment of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis in the US. The PROSORBA column was previously cleared by the FDA in 1987 for use in Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), an immune bleeding disorder.

The company's agreement with Fresenius excluded the territory of Canada and the company entered into a clinical study and distribution agreement with Medexus Inc. of Toronto, Canada, granting Medexus an exclusive license to market the PROSORBA column in Canada. In March 2000, Medexus received clearance from the Therapeutics Products Program to market the PROSORBA column in Canada.

In addition, Cypress is developing Cyplex(TM) (Infusible Platelet Membranes), which is positioned to become an alternative for traditional platelet infusions. For more information about the PROSORBA column and Cypress, please visit the company's Web site at www.cypressbio.com.

About HemaCare

HemaCare (OTCBB:HEMA) is a leading provider of blood products and services in the United States and the only publicly traded company engaged in the blood-services business. The company's operations on a national scale are focused on providing the highest quality blood services and products to healthcare providers.

6 HemaCare provides therapeutic apheresis services including PROSORBA Column treatments currently to hospitals in California, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Tennessee. The company's services also include Blood Management Programs (BMPs) for the University of Southern California hospitals, University of California, Irvine Medical Center, and Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in Southern California, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine, University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill, N.C. and St. Vincent's Hospital in Worchester, Mass.

For more information about HemaCare, contact JoAnn Stover, director of investor relations, at 818/986-3883 or visit HemaCare's Web site at www.hemacare.com.

Except for historical information contained herein, this news release contains forward-looking statements regarding Cypress Bioscience Inc. that involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to the company's and Fresenius' ability to market successfully the PROSORBA column for use as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis the company's and Medexus' ability to market successfully the PROSORBA column for use as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in Canada; whether the company will be successful in collaborating with Fresenius; Medexus; or HemaCare and the company's ability to develop and receive regulatory approval for Cyplex(TM) on a timely basis, if at all, as well as other risks detailed from time to time in the company's SEC reports, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 1998 and its most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 13, 2000
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