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PROTECTIVE EFFECT OF RIBI'S MPL AGAINST REPERFUSION INJURY DEMONSTRATED IN PRECLINICAL DATA PRESENTED AT ASPET MEETING

 PROTECTIVE EFFECT OF RIBI'S MPL AGAINST REPERFUSION INJURY
 DEMONSTRATED IN PRECLINICAL DATA PRESENTED AT ASPET MEETING
 HAMILTON, Mont., Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Important preclinical data presented recently indicate that MPL(R) immunomodulator protects against cardiac tissue damage associated with reperfusion injury, Ribi ImmunoChem Research, Inc. (NASDAQ: RIBI) announced today.
 The preclinical data, developed by Dr. Garrett Gross and colleagues at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, indicate that administration of MPL prior to cardiac ischemia and reperfusion reduces cardiac infarct size (area of tissue damage) by more than 50 percent compared to a control. Gross presented the data recently at a meeting of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Additionally, Gross and his colleagues found that pretreatment with MPL increases production of an important anti-oxidant enzyme in the bloodstream and reduces infiltration by neutrophils into the border regions of the infarct area. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cells implicated in tissue damage following reperfusion.
 Concurrently, data developed by Dr. Gary T. Elliott and colleagues at Ribi ImmunoChem using a second preclinical model show that pretreatment with MPL immunomodulator allowed 90 percent recovery of cardiac function as compared to approximately 50 percent recovery with a control following ischemia and three hours of reperfusion.
 The potential clinical application of MPL immunomodulator to prevent or ameliorate reperfusion injury is considerable. Each year in the United States more than 400,000 cardiovascular surgeries require stopping the heart, which can result in cardiac injury.
 Based on the preclinical data described above, as well as other preclinical information and Phase I human clinical safety data already completed, Ribi ImmunoChem is planning to initiate a Phase II human clinical study in cardiac arterial bypass graft (CABG) patients in the fourth quarter of 1992 to determine the ability of MPL to protect these patients against perioperative cardiac injury.
 Cardiac post-ischemia reperfusion injury occurs when the heart muscle undergoes an extended period of ischemia (deprivation of blood and thus oxygen) during an event such as a heart attack, cardiovascular surgery or cardiac transplantation, followed by reperfusion (the return of blood flow following surgery, angioplasty or thrombolytic therapy). Paradoxically, restoring blood flow may induce a complex series of events leading to both irreversible and reversible cardiac tissue damage beyond any damage that may have occurred during the ischemic period. It is believed that a significant factor in post-ischemia reperfusion injury is the generation of oxidative "free radical" molecules, which attack and damage cardiac tissue. Such damage may reduce cardiac function.
 In addition to the cardiac surgery procedures described above, MPL immunomodulator may also find application in ameliorating damage related to angioplasty procedures (blood-vessel surgery) and thrombolytic (clot- dissolving) therapy. More than 250,000 angioplasty procedures, which can reduce blood flow to the heart, are performed each year in the United States. More than 100,000 persons who suffer heart attacks and receive subsequent clot-dissolving drugs allowing reperfusion may be candidates for MPL therapy.
 MPL immunomodulator may also find application in ameliorating reperfusion injury associated with organ transplantation.
 "We are understandably excited about the potential of MPL immunomodulator for this application," said Robert E. Ivy, CEO, president and chairman. "Commercialization of MPL for this use could provide tremendous human benefit. The company has filed for patent protection for this exciting application."
 Ribi ImmunoChem currently has tow products in clinical testing: MELACINE(R) melanoma theraccine, which is in pivotal Phase III controlled clinical testing; and MPL immunomodulator, which has completed Phase I/II dose-escalation/controlled challenge testing to prevent or ameliorate septic shock.
 The company has licensed its adjuvants to SmithKline Beecham for the development of certain Human vaccines and has also licensed its DETOX(R) B adjuvant to Biomira, Inc., of Edmonton, Albertak, for the development of adenocarcinoma theraccines.
 Ribi ImmunoChem Research, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company founded in 1981, is a leader in the development of immunostimulants for use in preventing and treating human and animal diseases.
 -0- 9/10/92
 /CONTACT: Jeffrey S. McDowell, corporate information manager of Ribi, 406-363-6214/
 (RIBI) CO: Ribi ImmunoChem Research, Inc. ST: Montana IN: MTC SU:


TM-LD -- NY012 -- 7838 09/10/92 08:54 EDT
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Date:Sep 10, 1992
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