Preclinical Data on FermaVir's FV-100 Presented at the 47th Annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
"These data on FV-100 provide further evidence of the compound's antiviral activity and continue to differentiate FV-100 from compounds marketed or in development for shingles," stated Geoffrey Henson, Ph.D., chief executive officer of FermaVir. "Specifically, the compound's bioavailability and ability to rapidly inhibit VZV suggest that FV-100 has the potential to be a more potent treatment option for shingles and further reduce the symptoms associated with shingles, such as acute pain and post-herpetic neuralgia."
Dr. Graciela Andrei from the Rega Institute presented data demonstrating the bioavailability for FV-100 in a poster titled "FV-100, a Pro-Drug of CF-1743, as Potential Candidate for the Treatment of Varicella-Zoster Virus Infections." The active component of FV-100, CF-1743 required only a 2 hour exposure time on infected cells, as compared to approximately 1 and 3 days for brivudin and acyclovir, respectively, to completely exert their anti-VZV activity. Furthermore, confocal microscopy supported the rapid internalization of both FV-100 and CF-1743 into cells.
In the poster titled "Activity of CF-1743 Against Varicella-Zoster Virus in Human Primary Epithelial Cells Grown in 2D and 3D Culture Models," FermaVir scientists presented new data demonstrating the potency and selectivity of FV-100, a pro-drug of CF-1743. In a model using primary human keratinocytes to mimic human skin, CF-1743 was found to be 10 to 400 times more potent than acyclovir and brivudin. In addition, the effect of CF-1743 on viral DNA production correlated with the inhibition of the virus as measured by virus-induced cytopathicity in this model.
FermaVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is an emerging biotechnology company positioned for rapid growth by developing important antiviral drugs and other treatments in underserved segments of the pharmaceutical development marketplace. FermaVir licensed the technology for FV-100 from Cardiff University in 2005. The technology was a joint discovery from the laboratories of Professor Chris McGuigan from Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom and Professors Erik De Clercq and Jan Balzarini of the Rega Institute, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium. FermaVir has a continuing collaboration with both research groups. FermaVir is also developing a series of compounds that could improve the treatment of Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, a currently incurable viral disease that can threaten eyesight as well as cause severe morbidity and mortality mostly in the immunosuppressed. FermaVir's Intellectual Property portfolio includes a number of patent applications and a worldwide exclusive license for potential new drug treatments of infectious diseases. On April 10, 2007, FermaVir announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to merge with Inhibitex, Inc., which is expected to close in September 2007. For additional information about FermaVir, please visit www.fermavir.com.
Additional Information about the Merger and Where to Find It
In connection with the proposed merger, Inhibitex and FermaVir have filed relevant materials with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including a registration statement on Form S-4 that contains a prospectus and a joint proxy statement. The registration statement was declared effective by the SEC on August 10, 2007. Investors and security holders of Inhibitex and FermaVir are urged to read these materials because they contain important information about Inhibitex, FermaVir and the merger. The proxy statement, prospectus and other relevant materials (when they become available), and any other documents filed by Inhibitex and FermaVir with the SEC, may be obtained free of charge at the SEC's web site at www.sec.gov. In addition, investors and security holders may obtain free copies of the documents filed with the SEC by Inhibitex by directing a written request to: Inhibitex, 9005 Westside Parkway, Alpharetta, GA 30004, Attention: Investor Relations; and documents filed with the SEC by FermaVir by directing a written request to FermaVir, 420 Lexington Avenue, Suite 445, New York, N.Y. 10170, Attention: Investor Relations. Investors and security holders are urged to read the proxy statement, prospectus and the other relevant materials before making any voting or investment decision with respect to the merger.
Participants in the Solicitation
Inhibitex and FermaVir and their respective directors, executive officers and employees may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the stockholders of Inhibitex and FermaVir in connection with the proposed transaction. Information regarding the special interests of these directors and executive officers in the merger transaction is included in the proxy statement/prospectus referred to above. Additional information regarding the directors and executive officers of Inhibitex is also included in Inhibitex's Amendment No. 1 to the Annual Report on Form 10-K for year ended December 31, 2006. This document is available free of charge at the SEC's web site (www.sec.gov) and from Investor Relations at Inhibitex at the address set forth above. Additional information regarding the directors and executive officers of FermaVir is also included in FermaVir's Annual Report on Form 10-KSB for the year ended April 30, 2007. This document is available free of charge at the SEC's web site (www.sec.gov) and from Investor Relations at FermaVir at the address set forth above.
Safe Harbor Statement
Some of the statements included in this press release are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to: statements regarding the proposed acquisition, future market opportunity and future financial performance. For those statements, we claim the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Important factors may cause our actual results to differ materially, including, but not limited to, the satisfaction of the conditions to the closing of the pending merger transaction with Inhibitex, including approvals by the stockholders of both corporations, the Board of Directors of neither FermaVir nor Inhibitex withdrawing its support for the pending merger transactions, uncertainties associated with product development, the risk that FermaVir will not obtain approval to market its products, the risk that FermaVir technology will not gain market acceptance, the risks associated with dependence upon key personnel, the need for additional financing; and other cautionary statements contained elsewhere herein and in FermaVir's Annual Report on Form 10-KSB for the year ended April 30, 2007, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Any forward-looking statements set forth in this press release speak only as of the date of this press release. We do not intend to update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that occur after the date hereof.
FermaVir Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Dr. Geoffrey Henson, 212-413-0802
Posted: September 2007