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ERYtech Pharma Presents a New Advance in the Treatment of Sickle Cell Anaemia

LYON, France & PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov 25, 2008 - ERYtech Pharma has been chosen to present the first pre-clinical results obtained with its product GR-ARA1 on sickle cell anaemia during the 50th annual congress of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), to be held in San Francisco (USA) from 6 to 9 December 2008.

Sickle cell anaemia is a genetic disease characterised by the sickling of red blood cells in patients suffering from hypoxia (around 100,000 cases in Europe and North America). The red blood cells then adopt a sickle shape, obstruct the blood vessels and cause repeated and very painful crises.

Current treatment involves frequent and substantial exchange transfusions to prevent or treat sickle cell crises.

“These red blood cell transfusions are difficult to manage, however, and sometimes require 10 to 12 bags of packed red blood cells per patient per session. And these patients often have blood groups that are rare in Europe, making the collection of blood bags a complex task. Also, in the long term, they cause highly problematic poly-immunisation phenomena. Faced with this public health issue, ERYtech Pharma's technology could meet our as yet unmet need to significantly reduce the frequency and number of bags being transfused”, explains Dr Dominique Rigal, Scientific Director of the Etablissement Français du Sang (French Blood Service) of Lyon and Rhône-Alpes.

In an in vitro model, ERYtech Pharma researchers have shown a very significant reduction in sickling when the red blood cells of sickle cell patients are mixed with GR-ARA1. This programme is awarded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (French research agency) 2008 competition. “We are very happy to receive this recognition which validates our approach both in scientific, medical and economic terms. This grant wouldn't have been possible without the help of the teams of Dr Cyril Martin from the Université Claude Bernard in Lyon (CNRS E647) and Professor Pierre-Louis Tharaux from the Lariboisière Research Centre in Paris (INSERM 689)” says Dr Yann Godfrin, CEO and the company's Scientific Director.

“Sickle cell anaemia is the first application for GR-ARA1, but we are in the process of developing it for use in other pathologies. This project, which is in its acceleration phase, is sparking the interest of manufacturers and numerous international transfusion centres. We are entering an active co-development phase”, says Pierre-Olivier Goineau, COO in charge of Business Development.

About GR-ARA-1

The Oxygen'ERY® System technology consists of encapsulating an allosteric effecter of haemoglobin into erythrocytes to increase their ability to release oxygen in the presence of hypoxic cells.

The GR-ARA1 product has been developed with the aim of increasing tissue oxygenation and treating chronic genetic diseases characterised by hypoxia or severe anaemia such as sickle cell anaemia or thalassemia.

GR-ARA1 was also developed as an adjuvant treatment to the radiotherapy of resistant hypoxic tumours such as glioblastoma or tumours of the head and neck.

About ERYtech Pharma (

ERYtech Pharma is a biotechnology company developing a new generation of drugs.

A pioneer in the encapsulation of therapeutic molecules into red blood cells, ERYtech Pharma is developing a pipeline of innovative therapeutic solutions based on its proprietary technology and expertise in the physiological properties of erythrocytes. The company addresses serious pathologies, orphan indications or sub-populations of patients, particularly in the fields of haematology, cancer and metabolic diseases.

The most advanced product, GRASPA®, has recently been the subject of a phase II study on acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, while other indications are being explored, notably in solid tumours. Several other products are also under development.

For further information:

ERYtech Pharma- 60, Avenue Rockefeller – BÃtiment Adénine – 69008 - LYON - France

Phone: +33 (0) 4 78 74 44 38 - Fax : +33 (0) 4 78 75 56 29

ERYtech Pharma - US Office - 3701 Market Street, 4th Floor - 19104 Philadelphia PA - USA

Phone: 1 (215) 966 6190 - Fax: 1 (215) 966 6101



Contact: Press contact:
Cathy CLEMENT – GAIA Communication
Phone: +33 (0)1 30 82 66 65


Posted: November 2008