Upstream Biosciences CEO to Unveil Promising New Approach toTreating Sleeping Sickness at International TrypanosomiasisConference
Keynote Address to Highlight Upstream's Drug Candidates That Have Demonstrated Promising In Vitro Activity Against "Sleeping Sickness" and Other Parasitic Diseases
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, October 02, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Upstream Biosciences Inc. today announced that its Chief Executive Officer, Joel L. Bellenson, will unveil Upstream's promising new drug candidates in a keynote address to the International Scientific Council for Trypanosomiasis Research and Control (ISCTRC) conference being held in Angola from October 1 to 5, 2007. Trypanosomiasis is the medical term for the disease known as African sleeping sickness. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 60 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are at risk of contracting this devastating condition spread by the tsetse fly. Sleeping sickness also afflicts cattle and has been a major obstacle to the success of cattle raising in the region, causing an estimated $4.5 billion annually in lost food and agricultural revenues. The disease is fatal if untreated but current therapies for trypanosomiasis are expensive, toxic and often ineffective. The ISCTRC conference brings together African Union member states, researchers, and field workers to exchange information on controlling and eradicating trypanosomiasis in Africa.
"Sleeping sickness is a double-pronged threat to health and well-being in Africa, and we are honored to have the opportunity to share our exciting new approach with those individuals from around the globe who are most committed to finding solutions," said Mr. Bellenson. "Our drug program against sleeping sickness is at an early stage, but it has already produced candidates that preclinically demonstrate high efficacy at low doses and low toxicity in human cells at a range of doses. This is particularly exciting since no new anti- trypanosomiasis compounds with low toxicity have been developed in the past 60 years. We look forward to collaborating with a variety of organizations to rapidly advance this program in both animals and humans."
Upstream recently acquired access to innovative drug candidates designed to treat tropical parasitic diseases. In laboratory studies in vitro, these compounds have demonstrated human and veterinary potential against several major tropical parasitic diseases, including trypanosomiasis. These parasites, which belong to a family of protozoa species that include Chagas disease and malaria, infect millions of individuals in sub-Saharan Africa. Current treatments are toxic, ineffective, inconvenient and expensive.
Sleeping sickness is especially problematic since it has a major negative impact on both humans and cattle. The scope of the problem is illustrated by the fact that a number of speakers at the ISCTRC meeting noted that animal trypanosomiasis is a leading cause of rural malnutrition, poverty and overall economic underdevelopment in the region. Effective new veterinary drugs for sleeping sickness are expected to significantly increase the production of cattle throughout sub-Saharan Africa and accordingly represent a sizeable potential market that is estimated to be at least 5-6 times the $50 million in annual veterinary sales of today's inadequate drugs.
Mr. Bellenson concluded, "Sleeping sickness takes an enormous personal, social and economic toll on communities in the developing world, affecting millions of individuals and also decimating the cattle herds that are an integral part of rural economies. Our work with the ISCTRC and affiliated organizations represents the beginning of what we expect to be broad collaborative efforts with a variety of public and private organizations to ensure the timely and cost-effective advancement of our new drug candidates addressing these urgent needs."
The International Scientific Council for Trypanosomiasis Research and Control (ISCTRC) conference is being held in Luanda, Angola from October 1-5, 2007.
About African Sleeping Sickness (trypanosomiasis)
Sleeping sickness is a parasitic disease in people and animals caused by protozoa of the Trypanosomiasis genus and transmitted by the tsetse fly. According to the WHO, the disease is endemic in regions of sub-Saharan Africa covering 36 countries and 60 million people. There are an estimated 300,000 new cases each year. Early symptoms include anemia, endocrine, cardiac and kidney disorders. The symptoms of the second neurological phase give the disease its name; besides confusion and reduced coordination, the sleep cycle is profoundly disturbed. Without treatment, the disease is fatal, with progressive mental deterioration leading to coma and death. Damage caused in the neurological phase can be irreversible. Available treatments are toxic and require lengthy intravenous infusion and hospitalization. Trypanosomiasis also is a major source of serious illness in cattle and other livestock, which is estimated to cost the economies of sub-Saharan Africa about $4.5 billion annually from lost farm income and increased malnutrition.
About Upstream Biosciences, Inc.
Founded in 2004, Upstream Biosciences is an emerging leader in the discovery and development of novel drugs for tropical parasitic diseases and in the development of genetic diagnostics for cancer susceptibility and drug response. Upstream's innovative approach to drug discovery and its proprietary data mining pipeline enable it to apply advanced computational approaches to generating novel drug candidates and to locating and analyzing the genetic variations important to disease progression and drug response.
Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements: This news release contains "forward-looking statements", as that term is defined in Section 27A of the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the United States Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements in this press release which are not purely historical are forward-looking statements and include any statements regarding beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future. Such forward-looking statements include, among others, the expectation and/or claim, as applicable, that: (i) the Company intends to unveil promising new approaches to treating sleeping sickness at the conference and highlight the Company's drug candidates that may continue to demonstrate promising in vitro activity against sleeping sickness and other parasitic diseases; (ii) the Company's drug program continues to produce candidates that preclinically demonstrate high efficacy at low doses and low toxicity in human cells at a range of doses; (iii) the Company may collaborate with a variety of organizations to rapidly advance the drug program in both animals and humans; (iv) the Company's compounds continue to demonstrate human and veterinary potential against several major tropical parasitic diseases; (v) the Company may continue to engage in collaborative efforts with a variety of public and private organizations to ensure timely and cost-effective advancement of new drug candidates; (vi) the Company may continue to discover and develop novel drugs for tropical diseases and develop genetic diagnostics for cancer susceptibility and drug response; (vii) the Company's business may enable it to apply advanced computational approaches to generating novel drug candidates and to locating and analyzing the genetic variations important to disease progression and drug response. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors. Such factors include, among others: (i) the risk that the Company does not execute its business plan; (ii) the inability of the Company to keep pace with technological advancements in the field of genetic diagnostics and the treatment of tropical parasitic diseases; (iii) the Company's inability to adequately protect its intellectual property or the Company's inadvertent infringement of third party intellectual property; (iv) the Company not being able to retain key employees; (v) competitors providing better or cheaper products and technologies; (vi) markets for the Company's products not developing as expected; (vii) the Company's inability to finance its operations or growth; (viii) inability to obtain all necessary government and regulatory approvals; (ix) the inability to effectively market and commercialize the Company's technologies, including the establishment of viable relationships with third parties; and (x) the conference not proceeding as planned for any reason. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this news release and the Company assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Although the Company believes that the beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are reasonable, there can be no assurance those beliefs, plans, expectations, or intentions will prove to be accurate. Investors should consider all of the information set forth herein and should also refer to the risk factors disclosed in the Company's periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the Securities and Exchange Commission and available at www.sec.gov.
Posted: October 2007