METHYLGENE EXERCISES RIGHT TO OPT-OUT OF HDAC NEURODEGENERATIVE COLLABORATION WITH ENVIVO
Montreal, Quebec and Watertown, MA. February 6, 2008 – MethylGene Inc. (TSX:MYG) and EnVivo Pharmaceuticals today announced that MethylGene has exercised its right to opt-out of further funding in its collaboration with EnVivo signed in February 2005. EnVivo will continue to research and develop histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors for neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases under license from MethylGene. A lead compound has been identified during the collaboration and designated as a clinical candidate by EnVivo. MethylGene will receive royalties on net sales of any approved product as well as a share of any sublicense income from future partnerships EnVivo may enter into with other companies for neurodegenerative programs.
As part of the opt-out, MethylGene also expects to exit as a collaborator in the two-year collaboration with CHDI Inc. and EnVivo which commenced in November 2006.
“The collaboration with EnVivo has been successful in leveraging our library of HDAC inhibitors beyond oncology. A lead candidate has been identified and we expect EnVivo will move this compound into clinical trials later this year. MethylGene has decided to exercise its right to opt out of the collaboration at the development stage for this non-core indication in order to strategically focus resources on our oncology development programs and other preclinical programs,” said Donald F. Corcoran, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We wish EnVivo well with the program and look forward to the opportunity to participate in the upside potential.”
“The collaboration has been very productive and has provided us with a rich base from which we can move into several of the neurodegenerative diseases,” added Kees Been, President and CEO of EnVivo. “We look forward to advancing the lead compound towards clinical trials later this year. This would be the first brain-penetrant orally-available HDAC inhibitor that is being pursued for use as a cognition enhancing agent in neurodegenerative diseases with a potential for disease modification.”
MethylGene Inc. (TSX: MYG) is a publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapeutics for cancer. The Company’s lead product, MGCD0103, is an oral isotype-selective HDAC inhibitor presently in multiple clinical trials for solid tumors and hematological malignancies, including Phase II monotherapy and Phase I and Phase II combination trials with Vidaza(R), Gemzar(R) and Taxotere(R). MGCD265 is an oral kinase inhibitor targeting the c-Met, Tie-2, Ron and VEGF receptor tyrosine kinases. In addition, MethylGene’s preclinical programs include: MGCD290 an HDAC inhibitor in combination with azoles for fungal infections, and a sirtuins program for cancer. MethylGene’s development and commercialization partners include Pharmion Corporation, Taiho Pharmaceutical and EnVivo Pharmaceuticals.