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Tanox to acquire antibodies from Sunol Molecular for treatment of inflammatory disease.

Tanox, Inc. (Houston, TX) has executed an agreement with Sunol Molecular Corporation to acquire Sunol's tissue factor antagonist program for the potential treatment of inflammatory disease and cancer.

Under terms of the agreement, Tanox will receive all tissue factor antagonist assets from Sunol, including anti-tissue factor monoclonal antibodies and related technologies and intellectual properties, as well as non-exclusive rights to certain technologies and related intellectual property for protein and antibody expression.

In consideration for the acquired assets, Tanox will issue 800,000 shares of Tanox common stock and pay $6 million to Sunol -- a private, Florida-based biopharmaceutical company. The transaction is expected to close on or about March 31, 2005.

The lead drug candidate in the acquisition is Sunol's tissue-factor antagonist cH36 -- an anti-tissue factor monoclonal antibody in development for acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The antibody, which will be renamed TNX-832, is currently in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial for the treatment of ALI/ARDS. Tanox will assume oversight of the clinical trial upon the closing of the transaction.

"The integration of Sunol's tissue factor antagonist program into Tanox will enhance our product portfolio with an additional clinical-stage product," said Nancy T. Chang, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Tanox. "In addition to the acute lung and respiratory disorders, these antibodies have the potential to treat other diseases that result from over-expression of tissue factor and related coagulation, including cancer."

Tissue factor's pivotal role as an initiator of the blood coagulation cascade has been well documented in the scientific literature. Tissue-factor antagonist TNX-832 blocks initiation of the coagulation cascade, potentially minimizing consequential coagulation-induced inflammation and tissue injury in patients with ALI/ARDS -- a serious disease for which current treatment is extremely limited. ALI/ARDS affects more than 200,000 patients each year in the United States. In addition, tissue factor plays an important role in tumor progression in many types of cancers.

"This acquisition is consistent with our strategy of developing therapies for significant unmet medical needs in the areas of inflammatory disease and oncology," Chang said. "We believe the tissue factor antagonist program has the potential to be a platform program that can be a future value driver for the company."

Acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome are forms of respiratory failure characterized by diffuse pulmonary infiltrates, pulmonary hypertension, refractory hypoxemia, and loss of pulmonary function. ALI/ARDS commonly occurs in patients with acute catastrophic events, such as sepsis, trauma and severe pulmonary infections. The incidence of this inflammatory disorder is estimated at approximately 212,000 cases annually in the United States. The mortality rate for ALI/ARDS is estimated to be between 32 and 45 percent.

Tanox is a biotechnology company specializing in the discovery and development of biotherapeutics based on monoclonal antibody technology. The company develops innovative therapeutic agents for the treatment of immune- mediated diseases, inflammation, infectious disease and cancer. Tanox's lead investigational therapy, TNX-355, is a humanized, anti-CD4 monoclonal antibody to treat HIV and AIDS. TNX-355 received Fast Track Status from the United States Food and Drug Administration in 2003 and is currently in Phase 2 clinical testing. Tanox's first-approved drug, Xolair (omalizumab), is the first anti-immunoglobulin E (anti-IgE) antibody to be brought to market. Xolair was developed in collaboration with Genentech, Inc. and Novartis Pharma A.G. and was approved for marketing in the United States in 2003 for adult and adolescent patients with moderate-to-severe, confirmed allergic asthma. Tanox maintains a manufacturing facility in San Diego, California.

Tanox, Inc.,

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Title Annotation:Tanox Inc., Sunol Molecular Corp.
Publication:BIOTECH Patent News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2005
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