Antisoma Announces Global Agreement with Novartis for Cancer Drug AS1404

LONDON, 19 April 2007 - Antisoma plc announced today that it has signed an exclusive global licensing agreement with Novartis for its vascular disrupting agent AS1404 (DMXAA).

Antisoma will receive near-term payments of USD 100 million. USD 75 million will be paid immediately and a further USD 25 million when AS1404 enters a phase III trial in lung cancer.
 
Antisoma will be eligible for total upfront, development, regulatory and sales-related milestone payments of up to USD 890 million, contingent upon successful development and marketing of AS1404 in multiple indications, launch of back-up products in multiple indications, and achievement of sales milestones. Furthermore, if AS1404 is approved and commercialised, Antisoma will receive royalties on AS1404 sales and will have an option to co-commercialise AS1404 in the United States.
 
Novartis will fund and conduct all future development of AS1404, and will also fund the outstanding costs of the phase II trials currently being completed by Antisoma. The agreement also includes the potential for Novartis to fund certain of Antisoma's commercialisation costs.
 
Novartis' development plans for AS1404 include a phase III study in squamous non-small cell lung cancer, expected to start early in 2008, and a number of supporting studies in lung and other cancers. There will also be phase III trials in prostate and ovarian cancers if final results from phase II trials in these indications are positive.
 
Dr Ursula Ney, Antisoma's Chief Operating Officer, said: "We're delighted to have partnered AS1404 with Novartis, who have a strong commitment to oncology and the worldwide development and marketing infrastructure to make the most of the very significant opportunity this drug provides."
 
Glyn Edwards, Antisoma's CEO, said: "This deal provides both extra resources and new strategic options for Antisoma. We plan to use it as a springboard to further expand our pipeline and to exploit the value in our present portfolio.  We now have an excellent opportunity to gain direct involvement in selling our own products."
 
Webcasts and conference calls
 
(1) Europe
Antisoma will be holding a briefing for European analysts and investors this morning at 9.30 am BST at Piper Jaffray Ltd, One South Place, London EC2M 2RB.
 
Audio dial in details are:
Toll Free UK:                                     0800 953 1444
Standard International dial in:          +44 (0)1452 542 300
Conference ID:                                  6388764 (to be quoted by participants)
 
A link to a simultaneous webcast presentation will be available at www.antisoma.com
 
 
(2) US
Antisoma will have a call and webcast for US analysts and investors today at 3.30 pm BST / 10.30 am EST. Audio dial in details are:
 
Toll Free US:
1866 220 1452
Standard International dial in:     
+44 (0)1452 542 300
Conference ID:
6389685 (to be quoted by participants)
 
A link to a simultaneous webcast presentation will be available at www.antisoma.com
 
Conditions
The transaction may be subject to review by the Federal Trade Commission under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.
 
Enquiries:
 
Glyn Edwards, CEO
 
Daniel Elger, Director of Communications
+44 (0)7909 915068
Antisoma plc
 
 
 
Mark Court/Lisa Baderoon/Rebecca Skye Dietrich     
+44 (0)20 7466 5000
Buchanan Communications
 
 
 
Brian Korb
 
The Trout Group
+1  646 378 2923
 
 
Antisoma disclaimer
Except for the historical information presented, certain matters discussed in this statement are forward looking statements that are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. These risks and uncertainties may be associated with product discovery and development, including statements regarding the company's clinical development programmes, the expected timing of clinical trials and regulatory filings. Such statements are based on management's current expectations, but actual results may differ materially.
 
Deal terms
Antisoma will be eligible for total upfront, development, regulatory and sales-related milestone payments of USD 890 million, contingent upon successful development and marketing of AS1404 and follow on products in multiple indications. Furthermore, if AS1404 is approved and commercialised, Antisoma will receive royalties on AS1404 sales. Some of the sales-related milestones for AS1404 are creditable against future royalties.
 
About AS1404
Vascular disrupting agents (VDAs) are a new class of drugs that specifically attack established tumour blood vessels. AS1404 is the first VDA to report data from randomised clinical trials. The drug was discovered by Professors Bruce Baguley and William Denny and their teams at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, University of Auckland, New Zealand. It was in-licensed by Antisoma from Cancer Research Ventures Limited (now Cancer Research Technology), the development and commercialisation company of the Cancer Research Campaign (now Cancer Research UK), in August 2001. CRUK had supported two phase I studies in the UK and New Zealand. Antisoma has since conducted an additional phase I study, an open-label phase II study in lung cancer and three randomised controlled phase II studies in lung, prostate and ovarian cancers. The randomised lung cancer study showed a 5.2-month increase in median survival when AS1404 was added to the chemotherapy drugs carboplatin and paclitaxel. This is one of the largest extensions in survival ever seen in a lung cancer trial. Initial response findings from the prostate and ovarian cancer phase II studies have also been positive. Clinical studies to date suggest potential use of AS1404 in the treatment of lung, prostate and ovarian cancers as well as other solid tumours. 
 
About Antisoma
Based in London, UK, Antisoma is a biopharmaceutical company that develops novel products for the treatment of cancer. Antisoma fills its development pipeline by acquiring promising new product candidates from internationally recognised academic or cancer research institutions. Its core activity is the preclinical and clinical development of these drug candidates. Please visit www.antisoma.com for further information about Antisoma.

Posted: April 2007


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