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PROGENICS PHARMACEUTICALS AWARDED NIH GRANT FOR DEVELOPMENT OF SECOND-GENERATION AIDS VACCINE

 TARRYTOWN, N.Y., Dec. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that it has been awarded $500,000 under Phase II of a Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) grant by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). This funding is for the continued development of Progenics' second-generation acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) vaccine, ProVax, which is designed to prevent or treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. This is the fourth SBIR grant Progenics has received to date.
 "The critical need to expedite the development of novel, second-generation AIDS vaccines is clear from the recent disappointing clinical results of first-generation vaccines reported by other groups," said Paul J. Maddon, M.D., Ph.D., Progenics' Chairman and CEO. "This NIH grant serves as validation of the promising research that led to the development of Progenics' second-generation AIDS vaccine, ProVax."
 In the first phase of this research program, Progenics developed a system to produce large quantities of gp120, a protein present on the outer surface or "envelope" of HIV, the cause of AIDS. A critical component of HIV, gp120 enables the virus to attach to and infect human immune system cells. It is also the target of neutralizing antibodies and cellular immune responses that block viral replication. Under the direction of Karl W. Hasel, Ph.D., a Senior Investigator, the company's scientists employed Progenics' proprietary gp120 production system to develop ProVax, a novel, second-generation AIDS vaccine designed to prevent the spread of HIV by generating a broad and potent immune response.
 In the second phase of this research program, Progenics will continue preclinical development of ProVax in preparation for clinical trials. In addition, Progenics will study the structure of gp120 in collaboration with Wayne A. Hendrickson, Ph.D., of Columbia University. Dr. Hendrickson, a member of Progenics' Scientific Advisory Board and a leading expert on protein structure, solved the crystal structure of CD4, the protein on human immune system cells that serves as a receptor for gp120. The results of the collaboration should provide Progenics with a more complete picture of gp120 and insight on new therapeutic strategies against HIV.
 Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc., headquartered in Tarrytown, is a privately held biotechnology company specializing in the development of cost-effective therapeutics, vaccines, and diagnostics for human viral diseases, particularly HIV infection.
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 /CONTACT: Joel D. Sendek, manager-corporate development and investor relations, of Progenics, 914-789-2800 or Anthony J. Russo, Ph.D., of Noonan/Russo Communications, Inc., 212-696-4455 ext. 202/


CO: Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ST: New York IN: MTC SU:

LG -- NY013 -- 2107 12/09/93 09:34 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 9, 1993
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