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VESTAR'S DAUNOXOME (TM) PHASE I/II DATA PRESENTED AT ASH MEETING

VESTAR'S DAUNOXOME (TM) PHASE I/II DATA PRESENTED AT ASH MEETING
 DENVER, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Clinical results presented yesterday at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting indicate that the drug DaunoXome(TM) may have significant capability as an effective and well-tolerated treatment for AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma. DaunoXome, developed by Vestar Inc. (NASDAQ: VSTR), is a targeted liposomal formulation of daunorubicin, an established cancer drug that has heretofore not been used in AIDS patients.
 In phase I/II clinical study, sponsored by Vestar Inc., 30 Kaposi's sarcoma patients were treated with DanuoXome. Most of the patients had CD4 counts below 200 -- indicating high vulnerability to opportunistic infections -- and a majority of the patients were simultaneously undergoing treatment with AZT. Of the 16 patients in Phase II who could be evaluated, 60 percent showed partial responses, and 40 percent showed a stabilization of the cancer. The drug was well-tolerated by all the patients, including one patient who received as many as 30 courses of treatment with the drug. In no case was therapy discontinued due to side effects.
 Among the most significant observations in the study was the lessened degree of bone marrow suppression, which suggests that DaunoXome may be administered safely in combination with AZT. AZT, currently the principal treatment for AIDS patients, frequently causes bone marrow suppression, and, as a result, the concomitant use of other chemotherapeutic agents with similar side effects is often curtailed.
 "Our objective is to increase the treatment options for cancer and AIDS patients through the use of Vestar's proprietary liposomal technology, and we view this study as an important step towards that goal," said Roger J. Crossley, M.D., Vestar's president and chief executive officer. "We chose to develop daunorubicin because it is incorporated very effectively into our cancer-targeted liposomes. These interim clinical data indicate that our proprietary liposomal formulations may well confer significant clinical benefits. We are currently confirming these early results in expanded trials with a larger group of Kaposi's sarcoma patients," Crossly added.
 Kaposi's sarcoma, characterized by lesions of the skin, mucous membranes, lymph nodes and internal organs, affects an estimated 15 percent or more of AIDS patients. While current chemotherapeutic regimens have been shown effective in a large percentage of patients, the toxic side effects of hair loss, nausea, and bone marrow suppression can limit the prolonged use of such therapy.
 Vestar is currently conducting Phase II clinical trials of DaunoXome for Kaposi's sarcoma at medical centers in Germany, France and the United Kingdom, and in the United States in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In 1992., the company plans to begin Phase III studies of Kaposi's sarcoma. In addition, Phase I trials of the drug for treatment of solid tumors have been conducted in recent months, and Phase II studies will be initiated next year.
 Vestar Inc., headquartered in San Dimas, Calif., develops, tests, manufactures and markets pharmaceuticals to treat patients with cancer and serious infections, including AIDS. The company's initial products use liposomes -- microscopic spheres with walls similar to those of cell membranes -- to encapsulate pharmaceuticals. Since 1989, Vestar has been marketing in Europe its first product, AmBisome, a liposomal formulation of amphotericin B., to treat systemic fungal infections. DaunoXome, a liposomal formulation of the chemotherapeutic agent daunorubicin, is in development as Vestar's second major product.
 -0- 12/10/91
 /CONTACT: Michael E. Hart, CFO of Vestar Inc., 714-394-4119; or Marcia A. Kean, executive VP of Feinstein Partners Inc., 617-577-8110/
 (VSTR) CO: Vestar Inc. ST: Colorado IN: MTC SU: PDT


SE-EH -- LA005 -- 0799 12/10/91 07:16 EST
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Date:Dec 10, 1991
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