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894Article about possible lymphoma vaccine

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  • Matt960@aol.com
    Sep 21, 1998
    • 0 Attachment
      I saw the following press release concerning a lymphoma vaccine in
      development. Part of the article states that it may work on other
      hematological malignancies as well. Thought some of you might be interested
      in this. --Matt--

      Biomira and Biovector to Co-Develop B-Cell Lymphoma Vaccine

      EDMONTON and ALBERTA, Canada, and TOULOUSE, France, Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ --
      today announced that the two companies have signed an agreement to co-develop
      Biomira's idiotypic vaccine against B-cell lymphoma. This novel treatment
      involves the use of a patient's own cancerous cells to develop a highly
      specific vaccine.

      Under terms of the agreement, Biovector will be responsible for marketing in
      North America, and for marketing and manufacturing outside of North America.
      Biomira retains North American manufacturing rights. Biomira will receive an
      up-front payment from Biovector of US $500,000, milestone payments estimated
      to total US $15.5 million leading up to marketing approvals, plus royalty
      payments based on sales. In addition, Biomira will receive transfer fees for
      the cost of goods on products it manufactures.

      Biomira has recently submitted an Investigative New Drug (IND) submission to
      the FDA to commence the Phase I clinical trials, which are supported by an
      existing Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the US
      National Cancer Institute (NCI). Costs associated with future trials will be
      largely borne by Biovector and, pending successful negotiation of a new CRADA,
      may involve the NCI. The Principal Investigator of the Phase I trial will be
      Larry Kwak, MD, Ph.D., an internationally known specialist in B-cell
      malignancies, and pioneer in lymphoma vaccine development at the NCI.

      Biomira's liposomal idiotypic vaccine contains a patient-specific tumour
      antigen obtained from the patient's own cancer cells. The tumour antigen is
      first isolated and then combined with interleukin 2 (IL-2) and lipids into a
      vaccine designed to induce an immune response against the patient's own cancer
      cells. This vaccine would combine the ability of liposomes to target the
      immune system and deliver both tumour-specific cancer antigens and a potent
      immune enhancer.

      B-cell lymphoma is generally a lethal form of cancer. Current treatments
      include conventional chemotherapy and the recently approved monoclonal
      antibody approaches that are capable of shrinking the tumours. The residual
      tumour, however, almost invariably leads to relapses and sometimes to death.
      The therapeutic vaccine under development at Biomira USA Inc. is designed to
      stimulate the patient's own immune system to attack the residual tumour cells
      following chemotherapy or monoclonal antibody treatment. By complementing
      current therapies, this novel vaccine approach is hoped to result in prolonged
      disease-free survival. In addition to lymphoma, the vaccine could show equal
      promise for other indications within the family of B-cell malignancies
      including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, multiple myeloma and other
      hematological cancers.

      The American Cancer Society predicts that approximately 55,000 new cases of B-
      cell lymphoma will be diagnosed in 1998 in the US alone, incidence having
      doubled since the 1970's. Approximately 50 percent of these cases are the
      result of low-grade lymphoma, which would be targeted by this vaccine. A
      large population of patients in remission could also be potential candidates
      for this vaccine strategy. In 1998, there will be approximately 25,000 deaths
      attributed to B-cell lymphoma in the US alone.

      "This agreement allows us to lay groundwork for bringing forward another
      exciting product from our pipeline at minimal cost and risk to Biomira's and
      Biovector's shareholders, and with a strong return on investment for us both,"
      explained Alex McPherson, MD, Ph.D., President and CEO of Biomira Inc. "The
      expertise of our partner, Biovector, will allow us to remain focused on our
      lead cancer vaccine product at this critical time. It is an important advance
      for both companies", he stated. "Biomira is moving its lead product
      candidate, THERATOPE(R) vaccine, into an multi-national Phase III clinical
      trial involving patients with metastatic breast cancer later this year."

      "We believe the technology and expertise of our two companies is well suited
      to product revenue generation in the foreseeable future and will help
      Biovector Therapeutics to establish financial independence," explained Emile
      Loria, MD, President & CEO of Biovector Therapeutics. "This strategy fits our
      niche market objective perfectly," Dr. Loria added.

      Biovector Therapeutics has developed unique and proprietary technologies for
      delivery of biological products called "biovector systems". Biovectors are
      synthetic particles with unique biomimetic structures that closely resembling
      viral structures. These biovectors have been designed to improve the efficacy
      of biotech products including DNA encoding for antigenic proteins in vaccine
      applications and blood-circulating proteins in case of deficiency. The company
      is mainly focusing on the treatment of infectious diseases and cancer through
      curative or prophylactic immunotherapy approaches. Biovector's most advanced
      product is an intra-nasal flu vaccine, currently in Phase I clinical trials on
      human volunteers. The company was recently partnered with BioChem Vaccines
      Inc. a division of BioChem Pharma Inc., and has built an experienced
      management team to direct its activities. Its shareholders include major
      venture capital firms and institutions in both Europe and North America.

      Biomira is a biotechnology company specializing in developing innovative
      therapeutic approaches to cancer management. Our commitment to the treatment
      of cancer currently focuses on the development of synthetic vaccines and novel
      strategies for cancer immunotherapy. We are The Cancer Vaccine People(TM).

      Statements made in this release may contain forward-looking statements.
      Various factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those
      projected in such statements, including those predicting regulatory processes,
      the amounts of future payments expected under the collaborative agreement and
      timing and results of clinical trials. Although the Company believes that the
      forward-looking statements contained herein are reasonable, it can give no
      assurance that the Company's expectations are correct. All forward-looking
      statements are expressly qualified in their entirety by the Cautionary

      SOURCE Biomira Inc.

      CO: Biomira Inc.; Biovector Therapeutics SA; BioChem Pharma Inc.

      ST: Canada, France

      IN: MTC

      SU: PDT

      09/21/98 08:09 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com

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