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AlphaVax Announces Promising Results in Melanoma Studies

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., May 13, 2009 /PRNewswire/ -- AlphaVax announced today the presentation of promising results from a collaboration with researchers at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). Francesca Avogadri, Ph.D., a Research Fellow in the Department of Medicine at MSKCC presented data at the American Association of Immunologists Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington.

Results from pre-clinical studies conducted at MSKCC demonstrate the ability of AlphaVax's virus-like replicon vector particles (VRP) encoding melanoma-specific tumor antigens to reduce melanoma tumor burden in a state-of-the-art murine melanoma model.

Jedd D. Wolchok, M.D., Ph.D., Lab Head and faculty member at MSKCC, is a medical oncologist who specializes in the treatment of melanoma and in whose laboratory the work was conducted. Dr. Wolchok's research is focused on harnessing the immune system to prevent melanoma from recurring after surgery, as well as more effective treatments for the disease when it does recur. In comparing these results to others that his lab has investigated, Dr. Wolchok commented that "this is the most potent single intervention we have seen in this model."

"We are excited by the results obtained in the studies conducted by Dr. Wolchok's group at MSKCC. Immunotherapeutic intervention with a novel vaccine vector such as ours may prove beneficial as a treatment strategy for patients with melanoma, and we hope to translate these findings into clinical testing in the near future," said Robert Olmsted, Ph.D., Vice President of Research at AlphaVax, Inc.

The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 62,500 people were diagnosed with melanoma of the skin in 2008, and over 8,400 deaths were due to the disease. While melanoma accounts for a small percent of all skin cancers, it is far more serious than other skin cancers if not detected and treated early. Melanoma is a form of cancer that begins in melanocytes (cells that make the pigment melanin). Current treatment of later-staged melanoma includes surgical removal of the tumor tissue, followed by chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.

AlphaVax, Inc. is a North Carolina-based, clinical-stage company that uses a novel alphavirus vector platform technology that has proven to be highly flexible and immunogenic, and allows the same manufacturing, formulation, and delivery strategies to be applied to many different products. A phase I/II clinical trial for a CEA tumor vaccine is currently ongoing at and a Her2 breast cancer clinical trial is planned for later this year. In addition to cancer immunotherapy programs, AlphaVax is developing vaccine products for herpes simplex virus, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, HIV and a number of biodefense targets. The AlphaVax headquarters and R&D facilities are located in Research Triangle Park, and its GMP manufacturing facility is located in Lenoir, NC. The company employs staff with expertise spanning vaccine design, process development, GMP manufacturing, quality assurance, and regulatory and clinical affairs.

CONTACT: Janice A. Kimpel, Ph.D., AlphaVax, Inc., +1-919-595-0393

Web site: http://www.alphavax.com/

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Posted: May 2009

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