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November 16, 2000

Onyvax Raises Euro17.5m To Fund Cancer Vaccine Programs

Onyvax Limited (London, UK; www.onyvax.com) announces that it has raised Euro17.5m of private funding; Euro5m each from lead investors MB Venture Capital Fund I and the Merlin Biosciences Fund with the remainder from existing investors - Euro5m from 3i, Euro1.7m from S.R. One, Limited and Euro0.8m from Alta Berkeley Venture Partners. Dr John Gonzalez and Dr Sue Foden will join the Board of Onyvax, representing MB and Merlin respectively.

Founded in 1997, Onyvax is developing vaccines for the treatment of cancer. Vaccines are widely used to educate the immune system to attack targets such as bacteria and viruses and Onyvax believes that the same principle can be used to stimulate an immune attack on cancer cells. The new money will be used to fund an aggressive program of clinical studies and to expand the research and development team.

It is increasingly accepted that long-term control of cancer will require attack against multiple targets. Onyvax's first generation vaccines use cancer cells themselves as the immune stimulus, thereby including a very broad range of different cancer-specific targets. The vaccine is not tailored to the individual and can therefore be manufactured cost-effectively in bulk. Models have repeatedly shown that this approach is likely to be superior to those employing the patient?s own cancer cells.

A phase I/II study using Onyvax's cell-based prostate cancer vaccine, in sixty patients with advanced disease, was recently completed at St George?s Hospital. The study, conducted by Mr Roger Kirby showed the vaccine to be safe and capable of generating cancer-specific immune responses. Starting in early 2001, Onyvax will conduct a phase II study in earlier stage patients.

Onyvax's cell-based colorectal cancer vaccine is currently being used in a study at St. George's Hospital in patients with advanced metastatic disease. This study began in 2000 and will recruit up to 30 patients looking principally at the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine.

105AD7 is an antibody-based vaccine, originally developed at the University of Nottingham, which mimics a target (CD55) which is over-expressed in numerous cancers including those of the prostate, colon and pancreas. 105AD7 is currently the subject of two studies, one at University of Nottingham treating patients prior to surgery, and a second at St George?s Hospital investigating its effects in patients with advanced metastatic disease.

Anthony Walker, CEO said, "These new funds will enable us to drive Onyvax through a number of key milestones over the next three years, especially the proof-of-principle for the whole-cell vaccine approach in prostate cancer. We have the ability to quickly develop vaccines for a broad range of different cancers based on the same technologies. In addition, we continue to look for other opportunities in the field like 105AD7, licensed from the Cancer Research Campaign, to augment our internal programs."

Dr Sue Foden said, "Onyvax's approach to the development of an effective cancer vaccine is very exciting. The whole-cell approach is appealing as it lets the immune system select the appropriate targets rather than choosing one at random from the growing library of tumor markers. The immunotherapy field is moving rapidly and Onyvax has already established a leading position."

John Gonzalez said. "The Onyvax team has proved not only to be highly effective in research but also capable of rapidly moving candidate vaccines into the clinic. Whilst the Company is still very young, we were impressed to see three products in clinical trials, all with significant commercial potential."

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