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MGI PHARMA ACQUIRES EARLY STAGE COMPOUNDS WITH POTENTIAL TO BECOME BREAKTHROUGH ANTI-CANCER TREATMENT

 MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- MGI PHARMA, INC. (NASDAQ: MOGN), a specialty pharmaceutical company, announced today that it has acquired a new category of anti-cancer agents that have the potential to treat solid tumors including those that do not respond to or have become resistant to other cancer drugs. The new agents are called acylfulvenes.
 MGI PHARMA acquired the worldwide rights to the pending patents for the acylfulvenes from the University of California. The agents were discovered and developed to date in the laboratories of Dr. Trevor McMorris and Dr. Michael Kelner at the University's San Diego campus.
 Acylfulvenes are derived from a class of compounds called sesquiterpenes. They are produced semi-synthetically from the Omphalotus illudens mushroom. They have a novel mechanism of action that appears to be able to inhibit the growth of tumor cells without being excessively toxic to healthy cells. Laboratory and animal studies with these agents have shown them to kill tumors more effectively than conventional anti-cancer agents. They also appear to be effective against tumors that have become resistant to most traditional cancer agents.
 The acylfulvene analogs are still in the preclinical stage of development and will take several years of research and clinical study to determine if they are useful in treating cancer. MGI PHARMA will continue to work with Drs. McMorris and Kelner to further the development of these interesting compounds.
 According to Carl Wooten, Director of the University of California's Office of Technology Transfer, "This is an example of a promising collaboration between the University of California and a pharmaceutical company that could benefit all concerned."
 Kenneth F. Tempero, MGI PHARMA's chairman and chief executive officer, stated, "Adding the acylfulvenes to our product pipeline further enhances our long-term development portfolio and focus on oncology. We look forward to advancing these compounds and are excited about their potential to become an improvement in the treatment of solid tumors."
 MGI PHARMA acquires, develops and markets pharmaceuticals prescribed by physician specialists. Its initial focus is on developing products that improve the quality of life for critically and chronically ill patients. It is currently marketing DIDRONEL(R) I.V. Infusion and Oratect(R) Gel to cancer specialists throughout the United States, developing several promising new drugs, and awaiting approval for Salagen(R) tablets from the Food and Drug Administration.
 -0- 9/14/93
 /CONTACT: Lori Weiman of MGI PHARMA, 612-939-4666; or Janet Howard of the University of California, San Diego, 619-534-7572/
 (MOGN)


CO: MGI PHARMA, INC. ST: Minnesota IN: MTC SU: PDT

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 14, 1993
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