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Ascenta Therapeutics and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Announce Agreement to Develop AT-406 for Leukemia

-Agreement brings dedicated resources for evaluating Ascenta's multi-IAP inhibitor in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML)

MALVERN, Pa. & WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec 6, 2010 - Ascenta Therapeutics, Inc. and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) today entered into an agreement whereby the LLS will support clinical development of Ascenta's oral small molecule inhibitor of IAPs (inhibitor of apoptosis proteins), AT-406, for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

“Resistance to apoptosis, or programmed cancer cell death, is a central obstacle to treatments for leukemia and IAP-family proteins are known to be elevated in some leukemias,” said Mel Sorensen, MD, Ascenta's President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are delighted to join forces with the LLS to pursue this novel approach for patients with leukemia.”

Under the agreement, Ascenta will conduct its first Phase I trial of AT-406 in adults with AML in combination with the standard AML induction regimen. LLS will also support the investigation of biomarkers for AT-406 for this disease. Ascenta expects to start patient enrollment in this study in the first quarter of 2011 in the United States.

Taking an active role in accelerating development of novel therapies for patients, LLS has committed multi-year funding to support this collaboration as part of its Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP). The TAP supports private sector and academic-based projects with the goal of advancing investigational therapies with high prospects for providing near-term benefit to patients with blood cancers.

“Development of a therapeutic agent that allows clinicians to induce or regulate apoptosis directly would be a significant advance in the treatment of leukemia,” said Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Mission Officer of LLS. "Our work with Ascenta will not only determine if their oral multi-IAP inhibitor shows promise in patients with AML but also help identify which of these patients might receive the most benefit."

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ® (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.

Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit or contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

About Ascenta Therapeutics

Ascenta Therapeutics is a privately-held, clinical stage biopharmaceutical company located in the Greater Philadelphia area. The company is dedicated to efficient oncology drug development and has a portfolio of apoptosis-triggering small molecules that target protein-protein interactions, including two clinical compounds AT-101 and AT-406. In June 2010, Ascenta announced a $398 million global collaboration and licensing agreement with sanofi-aventis for its third program, targeting the p53-HDM2 (Human Double Minute 2) protein-protein interaction. Recently, Ascenta announced the formation of a strategic collaboration with Ascentage Pharma Group Corporation to co-develop AT-101 and AT-406 in China and leverage the companies' complementary strengths to accelerate development of Ascenta's apoptosis programs globally.

For additional information on Ascenta Therapeutics, please visit the company's website at

Contact: Media:
Sam Brown Inc.
Mike Beyer, 773-463-4211
Ascenta Therapeutics:
Mel Sorensen, MD, President & CEO
Andrea Greif, Director, Public Relations


Posted: December 2010