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ImQuest Presentations at International HIV Meeting Highlight Significant Progress in Their Therapeutic and Microbicide Development Programs

FREDERICK, Md., December 23, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- ImQuest Life Sciences presented important new results on the continued development of their small molecule pyrimidinedione inhibitors of HIV-1 at the bi-annual HIV-DART meeting held this week in Puerto Rico. The presentations highlighted the development of a second generation therapeutic agent with a highly increased barrier to the selection of drug resistant virus strains in treated patients, as well as formulation and delivery studies with their topical microbicide candidate for human trials, IQP-0528. The pyrimidinediones are highly potent inhibitors of HIV, exhibiting a dual mechanism of action which includes targeting virus entry and reverse transcription, a highly positive safety profile, and enhanced sensitivity against multi-drug resistant viruses isolated from patients. Robert W. Buckheit, Jr., Ph.D. (Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer) was invited to speak by the conference organizers on the development of even more potent drug candidates which will follow the clinical development of their lead therapeutic agent IQP-0410. Karen M. Watson, M.S. (Director, Topical Microbicide Research & Development) presented critical new information detailing the ongoing development of IQP-0528 as a vaginal topical agent to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV, especially in the hardest hit areas of the AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia.

Dr. Buckheit presented the results of studies which demonstrate the ability of various analogs of IQP-0410 to more effectively suppress the replication of viruses which are resistant to the action of other NNRTIs used in the clinic. ImQuest, in collaboration with their drug development partner Samjin Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd of Seoul, Korea, have recently engaged in an effort to develop more active pyrimidinediones possessing this higher genetic barrier to resistance. It is believed that these compounds will prolong the therapeutic utility of the pyrimidinediones by preventing HIV from easily evading the action of the drug and will allow ImQuest to develop even more potent HIV inhibitors following the entry of IQP-0410 to Phase 1 human clinical trials in early 2009. Ms. Watson reported on results of preclinical efficacy, formulation and delivery, and safety testing on the related pyrimidinedione microbicide, IQP-0528, which will be used to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV worldwide. The studies included ImQuest co-authors Lu Yang, M.D. and Christa E. Buckheit.

"These results further emphasize the significant therapeutic and preventative niche which the pyrimidinediones may fill and their development may not only prevent the transmission of HIV among sexual partners, but may also possess important therapeutic benefits in the context of the inhibition of highly drug resistant virus strains," said Dr. Buckheit. "We are excited to see IQP-0410 enter human clinical trials in 2009."

, a privately held U.S. company located in Frederick, Maryland specializes in the preclinical and clinical development of novel compounds for the treatment of infectious disease and cancer. , also located in Frederick, Maryland, is a leading provider of anti-infective and anti-cancer drug and vaccine development services to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry.

Posted: December 2008