IDEC Pharmaceuticals And ExonHit Therapeutics Announce Collaborative Agreement in Target Discovery

(BW HealthWire) — IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Nasdaq: IDPH) and ExonHit Therapeutics, the alternative splicing-based drug discovery company, today announced that they had signed a collaboration and research agreement directed to the discovery of new antigen targets for antibody therapy, including prostate carcinoma.

Under the terms of the agreement, IDEC has exclusive, worldwide rights to certain antibody-based therapeutic applications of new target discoveries. ExonHit Therapeutics will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and milestones from IDEC. In addition, it will receive royalty payments on sales by IDEC or its affiliates from products emerging from the collaboration.

“This collaborative agreement builds on the strengths of both companies,” said Nabil Hanna, Ph.D., IDEC’s chief scientific officer. “By utilizing ExonHit’s unique approach of identifying alternative splicing of genes expressed in cancer cells, IDEC has the opportunity of identifying new antigens which can be targeted with our monoclonal antibody and radioimmunotherapy technologies.”

Bruno Tocque, ExonHit Therapeutics CEO said: “We are extremely pleased to have entered into this collaborative alliance with a prestigious, blue-chip biotechnology company, IDEC Pharmaceuticals. ExonHit Therapeutics’ core DATAS technology, based on the analysis of alternative splicing, provides the most comprehensive information on gene expression differences between normal human prostate tissue and tumor tissue. DATAS enables us to quickly identify relevant antigen targets.”

IDEC Pharmaceuticals focuses on the commercialization and development of targeted therapies for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. IDEC’s antibody products act chiefly through immune system mechanisms, exerting their effect by binding to specific, readily targeted immune cells in the patient’s blood or lymphatic systems.

For a menu of IDEC’s current news releases and quarterly reports or to retrieve a specific release, call (888) 329-2309. On the Internet check the News Center at IDEC’s website:

The statements made in this press release contain certain forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual events or results may differ from IDEC’s expectations. For example, the timing, success and cost of discovery programs, preclinical research and clinical studies, the timing, acceptability and review periods for regulatory filings, the timing of and ability to obtain regulatory approval of products, the timing of product launches, the achievement of future product sales, the level of manufacturing performance and the risk factors listed from time to time in IDEC’s SEC filings including but not limited to its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2000 and Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2001, may affect the actual results achieved by IDEC. These forward-looking statements represent the company’s judgment as of the date of this release. The company disclaims, however, any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

IDEC Pharmaceuticals is a registered U.S. trademark of the company. The company’s headquarters are located at 3030 Callan Road, San Diego, CA 92121.

About ExonHit Therapeutics

ExonHit Therapeutics ( is the inventor of DATAS (Differential Analysis of Transcripts with Alternative Splicing); a unique proprietary qualitative gene profiling technology that allows the detection of disease-relevant changes in mRNA sequence resulting from alternative RNA splicing. The company’s objective is to provide sophisticated, innovative molecules, RDCs (Ready for Development Compounds), to pharmaceutical companies. In addition, ExonHit also applies its technology in order to enable its partners to develop new and more effective drugs, and to better diagnose disease, thereby reducing the time, cost and risk associated with medical research.

ExonHit has developed an innovative approach to qualitative genome analysis that allows the identification of changes taking place during RNA splicing without high-throughput sequencing. DATAS, ExonHit’s technology, offers added value at a number of key points throughout the pharmaceutical R&D process: these include target identification, lead selection, lead optimization, toxicity evaluation and pharmacogenomic evaluation (assessment of a molecule’s impact on an individual patient). The broad capability of its DATAS technology is the key to ExonHit’s ability to develop RDCs. At present the company has four RDCs under development: EHT 101, EHT 102, EHT 201 and EHT 202. These molecules are targeted at cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

ExonHit Therapeutics, which was founded in 1997, has its headquarters and laboratories in Paris, France and set up a US subsidiary based in Gaithersburg, Maryland. A range of products and services will generate revenues in the short, medium and long term and the company expects to make its first profits in 2004.

ExonHit Therapeutics has assembled an experienced management team to direct its planned growth and has attracted high profile investors. To date, the Company has raised a total of 47 million euros.CONTACT: IDEC Pharmaceuticals, San Diego Vince Reardon, 858/431-8656 or ExonHit Therapeutics SA Bruno Tocque, +33 (0)1 58 05 47 00 or ExonHit Therapeutics, Inc. Jim Lyddy, 240/683-7072

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