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 Investment Made by Vestar in Canadian Company
 with Rights to Harvesting of Pacific Yew Tree
 SAN DIMAS, Calif., Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Vestar Inc. (NASDAQ: VSTR) announced today the formation of a joint venture with Towers Phytochemical Ltd., a Canadian pharmaceutical company, to develop, manufacture and market a generic form of Taxol(R) in selected markets. Management noted that initial marketing of the first product will be in Canada, pending approval of the generic product by the Health Protection Branch. Vestar will also utilize its proprietary technology to create a liposomal formulation of paclitaxel, the active ingredient in Taxol(R).
 Under the agreement, Towers will supply and produce paclitaxel. Vestar will develop, manufacture and market all products developed by the partnership.
 In commenting on the collaboration, Roger J. Crossley, M.D., Vestar's president, chairman and CEO, said: "This joint venture will enable us to rapidly enter some key international markets with one of the most important anti-cancer therapies to emerge in recent years. Longer term, this alliance offers us the potential of applying our liposomal technology to the drug to create another proprietary product in our targeted therapeutic arena."
 Towers, in part funded by the Western Economic Diversification of Canada, is focusing on the commercialization of generic Taxol(R) and related research activities. Towers has negotiated long-term agreements with several of British Columbia's major forest products companies for the exclusive rights to the harvesting of the Pacific yew tree, the natural resource of paclitaxel. In addition, Towers has negotiated an agreement with the British Columbia Cancer Agency to participate in the ongoing development of Taxol(R).
 Towers' President and CEO Hy Foo commented, "We are very excited at the prospect of working with Vestar to supply this valuable drug near- term to cancer patients. Longer term, we view this alliance as very significant, given our plans to expand production of paclitaxel and Vestar's ability to improve the safety and efficacy profile of the drug with its drug delivery technology."
 Paclitaxel is the generic name given to Taxol(R), which was discovered two decades ago by researchers at the Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina. Taxol(R) is derived from Taxus brevifolia, more commonly known as the Pacific yew tree, which grows in limited quantities in British Columbia and the northwestern United States. Clinical trials for the drug were conducted in the 1980s through the National Cancer Institute (NCI). In 1991, Bristol-Myers Squibb entered into an agreement with the NCI to commercialize Taxol(R), which it trademarked two years ago. Taxol(R) was approved for use in the United States and Canada in 1992 to treat ovarian cancer in patients who have failed first line chemotherapy.
 Towers, based in Richmond, British Columbia, was founded in 1990 to conduct research, development and commercialization of natural products. The company is presently constructing a commercial scale facility in Greater Vancouver to produce paclitaxel from various sources, as well as other plant-derived healthcare products.
 Vestar, headquartered in San Dimas, develops, manufactures and markets pharmaceuticals to treat patients with cancer and serious infections, including AIDS. Since 1989, Vestar has been marketing AmBisome(R) in Europe, to treat systemic fungal infections. DaunoXome(R) is Vestar's second major product, for the treatment of AIDS-associated Kaposi's sarcoma. MiKasome, a liposomal formulation of the antibiotic amikacin, is in clinical trials for potential use against drug-resistant tuberculosis. Among the company's proprietary drug delivery technologies are liposomes to encapsulate pharmaceuticals, and lipid pro-drug technology for the development of orally active compounds.
 -0- 9/1/93
 /CONTACT: Michael E. Hart, CFO of Vestar, 909-394-4119; or Bryan R. Wilson, VP-finance & planning of Towers Phytochemicals Ltd., 604-241-1090/

CO: Vestar Inc.; Towers Phytochemical Ltd. ST: California, British Columbia IN: MTC SU: JVN

JL-MF -- LA008 -- 7810 09/01/93 09:16 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 1, 1993

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