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Internationally Renowned Experts to Speak at Apoptosis Conference; - Apoptosis: Commercial Opportunities, April 28 - May 1, 2002 Hosted by Idun Pharmaceuticals in San Diego -.

SAN DIEGO -- Internationally renowned experts will present at the upcoming conference, Apoptosis: Commercial Opportunities, to be held in San Diego, April 28 - May 1, 2002, and hosted by Idun Pharmaceuticals. H. Robert Horvitz, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Richard N. Kitsis, M.D., Albert Einstein College of Medicine, are among the speakers that will present on apoptosis and its applications in therapeutic areas such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, inflammation and others. Corporate sponsors of this first annual conference include Cambrex, BD Pharmingen, Aegera Oncology, Seed Law Group, Promega, and GeminX Biotechnologies.

The conference will blend knowledge of the molecular biology of the apoptosis pathway with its commercial applications for diagnosis and treatment of disease. The conference will focus on leveraging apoptosis to develop treatments for disease and will include presentations on the latest in apoptosis research, how apoptosis is related to important diseases and approaches to the clinic.

Highlights of the conference include keynote addresses by Dr. Robert Horvitz, MIT, "The Genetic Control of Apoptosis in C. elegans" and Dr. John Alam, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, "Apoptosis: A Target for Novel Drugs". These talks represent the two important ends of the spectrum that will be addressed at the conference: from the underlying biology and genetic control of apoptosis to the pharmaceutical exploitation of apoptosis to develop important new drugs.

Dr. Richard Kitsis, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Dr. Robert Armstrong, Idun Pharmaceuticals, will present their latest findings on apoptosis in heart disease and the use of caspase inhibitors to reduce the damage associated with heart attacks. Caspase inhibitors are potentially the newest class of heart attack drugs that could augment -- rather than supplant -- existing drugs to treat heart attack victims, such as thrombolytics.

The presentation by Dr. Eric La Casse, Aegera Oncology, Inc., represents one of several talks focused on stimulating apoptosis in an effort to kill cancer cells. Through pro-apoptosis approaches, researchers hope to generate more potent drugs and more specific cancer therapeutics.

Drs. Guy Salvesen and Stuart Lipton, both from The Burnham Institute, will present data elucidating the mechanism of apoptosis and how these mechanisms play a role in disease. Likewise, Dr. Edward Olejniczak, Abbott Laboratories, will speak about the structure of proteins involved in the regulation of apoptosis -- a critical step in the development of effective drugs that influence the apoptosis regulatory mechanism.

Dr. Marty Dickman, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, will highlight non-human therapeutic applications of apoptosis technology in his talk about the use of anti-apoptosis genes in a wide variety of plants to confer resistance to pests and environmental stress. These data have broad implications for a new generation of transgenic plants with pan-resistance to diseases and environmental threats to economically important crops.

For additional information, a complete list of speakers, and to register for Apoptosis: Commercial Opportunities, please visit or call 858/623-1330.

Idun Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company located in San Diego, CA. It creates innovative human therapeutics with a primary focus on controlling apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Idun believes that controlling the cell death process will have utility in treating cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, ischemic disorders and cardiovascular disease. The company has a commercialization strategy encompassing: strategic collaborations with major pharmaceutical companies; internal, independent development of selected small molecule therapeutics; and out-licensing of diagnostics, gene therapies, and bioproduction technologies. Idun has a broad patent portfolio covering the fundamental and core technologies involved in the regulation of cell death and has established partnerships with Abbott Laboratories in cancer, with Elan Corporation, plc in stroke, and Becton Dickinson and Company in research reagents.

Some of the statements in this press release are forward-looking statements and do not guarantee future performance and involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ substantially from the results that the forward-looking statements suggest for various reasons. These forward- looking statements are made only as of the date of this press release.


Contact: Steven J. Mento, Ph.D., President and CEO of Idun Pharmaceuticals, +1-858-623-1330; or Kathy Witz Sweeney of Mentus, +1-858-455-5500, ext. 140,, for Idun Pharmaceuticals

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Date:Apr 9, 2002
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