Bionovo's Estrogen Receptor Beta Selective Drugs Have Unique Gene Expression and Cell Type Specificity

Results Published in Public Library of Science One (PLoS One)

EMERYVILLE, Calif., July 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Bionovo, Inc. (NASDAQ:BNVI) announced today that a study of the gene regulation in multiple cell lines by several of their estrogen receptor beta (ERb) candidates will be published in Public Library of Science One.
 

"In this study we show that plant-derived ERb compounds are as selective as synthetic compounds, but regulate different genes. Specifically, we have discovered that these compounds do not promote breast or endometrial cancer in animal models, unlike many estrogen therapies. This suggests that these plant-derived ERb-selective compounds could lead to safer, more attractive alternative therapies for menopausal symptoms," said Dr. Dale Leitman, the Principal Investigator of the study.
 

The publication describes the analyses of three distinct classes of ERb selective drugs. The study determines the relative ER selectivity and pattern of gene expression of the three classes of ERb selective compounds compared to the natural hormone estradiol, which non-selectively regulates both ERa and ERb . The most significant finding in the study was that the ERb-selective compounds regulate a number of genes differently than estradiol, a hormone therapy commonly used to treat women's health issues. This discovery indicates that ERb agonists might be safer than current estrogens used in hormone therapy. The study also demonstrates the cell type selectivity of Menerba (MF101) and Liquiritigenin, two of Bionovo's ERb selective drugs, in different cell types. These compelling findings will serve as a strong impetus for Bionovo, Inc. to continue investigating the unique abilities of their drugs to safely and effectively treat menopausal symptoms.
 

"It is essential that new drug candidates demonstrate drug selectivity and tissue specificity in order to minimize adverse effects, particularly when the drug is being developed for the treatment of common, recurring symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flashes. This is particularly important when developing drugs that mediate their effects through estrogen receptors, which are responsible for many functions in the body and are present in a range of different tissues. Bionovo stands alone in its dedication to identifying novel pathways in estrogen receptor signaling as drug targets for the treatment of women's conditions," said Isaac Cohen, Chairman and CEO of Bionovo, Inc. "We have been endeavoring to develop more selective drugs in women's health, and Dr. Leitman's study highlights the solid scientific underpinnings of our ER beta selective drugs and underlines the deep biological understanding we have of the mechanisms through which they work."
 

Bionovo, Inc.
 

Bionovo is a pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of safe and effective treatments for women's health and cancer, markets with significant unmet needs and billions in potential annual revenue. The company applies its expertise in the biology of menopause and cancer to design new drugs derived from botanical sources which have novel mechanisms of action. Based on the results of early and mid-stage clinical trials, Bionovo believes they have discovered new classes of drug candidates within their rich pipeline with the potential to be leaders in their markets. Bionovo is headquartered in Emeryville, California and is traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol, "BNVI".
 

For more information about Bionovo and its programs, visit: http://www.bionovo.com/.
 

Forward Looking Statements
 

This release contains certain forward-looking statements relating to the business of Bionovo, Inc. that can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "believes," "expects," or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, including uncertainties relating to product development, efficacy and safety, regulatory actions or delays, the ability to obtain or maintain patent or other proprietary intellectual property protection, market acceptance, physician acceptance, third party reimbursement, future capital requirements, competition in general and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from those described herein as anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Certain of these risks and uncertainties are or will be described in greater detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are available at http://www.sec.gov/. Bionovo, Inc. is under no obligation (and expressly disclaims any such obligation) to update or alter its forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
 

Source: Bionovo, Inc.

CONTACT: Claire Fong or Tom Chesterman, both of Bionovo, Inc.,
+1-510-601-2000, investor@bionovo.com
 

Web Site: http://www.bionovo.com

Posted: July 2009

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