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October 8, 2002

UK and US companies link to accelerate Prostate Cancer Research

London, UK and Detroit, MI, October 8, 2002 — Onyvax Ltd, a UK vaccine therapy company, and Asterand, a US-based clinical genomics company, today announced they have signed a collaborative agreement with the objective of furthering worldwide research into prostate cancer.

The two companies are combining resources to make prostate cancer cell lines available to both commercial and academic researchers.

“At the moment, research into prostate cancer is limited by the fact that there are only three prostate cancer cell lines in general use,” said Asterand CEO Randal Charlton.

Cancer cell lines are derived from tumors and grown indefinitely in the laboratory. Researchers use cell lines to examine and understand the nature of disease on a cellular and molecular level. This in turn may lead to the development of therapeutics to fight cancer.

Onyvax has spent several years developing therapeutic vaccines for prostate cancer and has considerable expertise in deriving cell lines. The Company, based at London’s St George’s Hospital, already has one promising prostate cancer vaccine in Phase II clinical trials in the UK.

In the process of developing potential vaccines, Onyvax has produced a number of cell lines that could be valuable to other researchers. These cell lines will be transferred to Asterand’s laboratories at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI.

“Asterand will characterize the cell lines provided by Onyvax and distribute them to the research community,” explained Mr. Charlton “We run one of the world’s leading biorepositories for tissue based research into cancer and a wide range of other diseases. Asterand specializes in supplying pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies with biological material in various formats and backed by detailed clinical data.”

“Asterand’s expertise in tissue processing and their network of clients in the US and elsewhere will give us immediate access to the world’s leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and their research programs,“ said Onyvax CEO Anthony Walker. “Although our primary goal at Onyvax is to develop our own vaccines for prostate and other cancers we believe we can provide researchers with valuable material for a variety of important initiatives.”


About Asterand

Asterand is a clinical genomics company, which is building a human tissue bank and associated data for research targeted at cancer and a range of other diseases. Asterand’s research clients include the world’s leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

The company was founded in May 2000 and has since developed a network of accrual sites both within the US and in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The company has standardized collection procedures including ethical protocols, which insure that donor consent is obtained and that all material is anonymized.

Asterand’s shareholders include Oxford BioScience Partners; the leading biotechnology venture fund in the US, and Fort Washington Capital, a Cincinnati based financial services and investment company.

 

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