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Avalon Pharmaceuticals Announces their Beta-catenin InhibitorsDemonstrate Potent Cytotoxic Effects in Multiple Myeloma

GERMANTOWN, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec 10, 2007 - Avalon Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: AVRX), yesterday presented results at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting on its Beta-catenin pathway inhibitor program.

Results show this small molecule compound family has potent inhibitory effects on Wnt/Beta-catenin signaling in Multiple Myeloma (MM) cells. The Beta-catenin pathway is activated in the majority of MM cells, and is known to play a critical role in Myeloma cell survival. The presentation described inhibition of cell growth, decrease in Beta-catenin protein levels and potent induction of apoptosis in Myeloma cells by the Beta-catenin pathway inhibitors. Gene expression biomarkers that report on Beta-catenin pathway inhibition in Myeloma cells were identified and used to monitor Beta-catenin pathway inhibition.

"Studies show that inhibition of the Wnt/Beta-catenin pathway could be an effective treatment for many cancers, including Multiple Myeloma," said Stephen Horrigan, Ph.D., Vice President of Research. "Therefore, we believe that our Beta-catenin pathway inhibitor is a promising candidate for pre-clinical development for hematological cancers."

Optimization of the compound series was developed in less than 12 months by utilizing AvalonRx(R), the Company's proprietary biomarker centric approach which increased the potency of the compounds (greater than 50-fold) on the pathway and led to a series of compounds that have activity in tumor models.

Beta-catenin Pathway

It is estimated the Beta-catenin pathway is abnormally activated in more than 90% of colon cancers and in a large number of other solid and hematological cancers. Many of these tumor cells have been found to be dependent on the Beta-catenin pathway for survival and to be particularly sensitive to inhibition of this critical pathway. Since the activation of the pathway is dependent on the activity of the Beta-catenin protein, a classically intractable target, Avalon Rx(R) is particularly well suited for the identification and optimization of drugs targeting this important pathway.


AvalonRx(R) is a comprehensive, innovative and proprietary suite of technologies based upon large-scale gene expression analysis. This platform facilitates drug discovery by expanding the range of therapeutic targets for drug intervention, including targets and target pathways frequently considered intractable using conventional HTS approaches. It also allows more informed decisions about which compounds to advance towards clinical trials and facilitates drug development through identification of biomarkers of efficacy that can stratify patients or provide early indicators of response.

About Avalon Pharmaceuticals

Avalon is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of first-in-class cancer therapeutics. Avalon's lead product candidate, AVN944, an IMPDH inhibitor, is in Phase II clinical development. Avalon also has preclinical programs to develop inhibitors of the Beta-catenin and Aurora/Centrosome pathways, discovery programs for inhibitors of the Survivin and Myc pathways and partnerships with Merck, MedImmune, ChemDiv, Medarex, and Novartis. AvalonRx(R) is the company's proprietary platform which is based on large-scale biomarker identification and monitoring, used to discover and develop therapeutics for pathways that have historically been characterized as "undruggable." Avalon is headquartered in Germantown, MD.

Safe Harbor Statement

This announcement contains, in addition to historical information, certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Such statements reflect the current views of Avalon management and are based on certain assumptions. Actual results could differ materially from those currently anticipated as a result of a number of factors, risks and uncertainties, including those specified under the "Risk Factors" section of our 2006 Annual Report on Form 10-K and updates contained in subsequent filings we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Posted: December 2007