Adherex Technologies Inc.

Adherex Technologies Inc.
SCYNEXIS, INC.

March 23, 2005 08:04 ET

Adherex and Scynexis Sign Agreement to Accelerate Design of Small Molecule Cadherin Antagonists


NEWS RELEASE TRANSMITTED BY CCNMatthews

FOR: ADHEREX TECHNOLOGIES INC.

TSX SYMBOL: AHX
AMEX SYMBOL: ADH

AND SCYNEXIS, INC.

MARCH 23, 2005 - 08:04 ET

Adherex and Scynexis Sign Agreement to Accelerate
Design of Small Molecule Cadherin Antagonists

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NORTH CAROLINA--(CCNMatthews - March 23, 2005) -
Adherex Technologies Inc. (AMEX:ADH) (TSX:AHX), a biopharmaceutical
company with a broad portfolio of oncology products under development,
and SCYNEXIS, Inc., a medicinal chemistry-focused drug discovery and
development company, today announced that they have signed an agreement
under which SCYNEXIS will provide comprehensive medicinal and analytical
chemistry services to Adherex with the goal of accelerating and
expanding Adherex's small molecule cadherin antagonist development
programs.

Dr. Brian Huber, Adherex's Chief Scientific Officer, explained the goals
behind this agreement. "Adherex's lead biotechnology compound, ADH-1, is
progressing well through its development and is entering Phase II
clinical trials. ADH-1 is a cyclic peptide that has been well tolerated
and has shown encouraging anti-tumor activity in our Phase I program. It
is administered by intravenous injection, which is appropriate for an
anti-tumor and vascular targeting agent used in cancer patients.
However, there are other potential uses for cadherin antagonist drugs
that would be better served by an orally active drug. To enhance our
capabilities for oral drug delivery, we are working with SCYNEXIS to
expand our small molecule discovery efforts."

Huber continued, "We have already identified small molecules that appear
to block N-cadherin binding and are more potent than ADH-1. These small
molecule antagonists are a solid starting point for further lead
optimization efforts, thereby advancing orally active therapeutics in
our pipeline."

The agreement provides Adherex with dedicated chemistry resources at
SCYNEXIS, including a highly experienced medicinal chemistry team backed
by innovative technologies. All proprietary information and data
developed pursuant to the agreement will be owned solely by Adherex.

"SCYNEXIS is pleased to work with Adherex's outstanding team in its
novel drug discovery and development efforts," said Yves Ribeill,
President and Chief Executive Officer of SCYNEXIS. "Our scientists look
forward to working with their Adherex counterparts to accelerate the
optimization of proprietary molecules for their oncology and
non-oncology programs."

Small molecules are low molecular weight, non-peptide molecules that can
be optimized to be orally active, more potent and stable with a longer
half-life than related peptides.

About Adherex Technologies

Adherex Technologies Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to
the discovery and development of novel cancer therapeutics. We aim to be
a leader in developing innovative treatments that address important
unmet medical needs in cancer. We currently have four products in the
clinical stage of development including ADH-1 (Exherin™) and sodium
thiosulfate (STS). ADH-1, our lead biotechnology compound, is an
angiolytic that selectively targets established blood vessels that feed
solid tumors. STS, a drug from our specialty pharmaceuticals pipeline,
protects against the disabling hearing loss that can often result from
treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy drugs. With a diversified
portfolio of unique preclinical and clinical-stage cancer compounds and
a management team with expertise in identifying, developing and
commercializing novel cancer therapeutics, Adherex is emerging as a
pioneering oncology company. For more information, please visit our
website at www.adherex.com.

About SCYNEXIS

SCYNEXIS is a medicinal chemistry-focused drug discovery and development
company headquartered in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, with
European operations, SCYNEXIS Europe Ltd., located near Cambridge,
England. By combining its chemists' extensive expertise with its
proprietary, cutting-edge technologies MEDCHEM-FACTORY™, HEOS®
Software Suite and Kinase Inhibitor Technology (KIT™), SCYNEXIS
provides improved speed and productivity in the chemical validation of
drug targets. Besides SCYNEXIS' validated expertise in lead optimization
and candidate selection, SCYNEXIS also offers a comprehensive suite of
drug discovery and development services that include novel directed hit
generation compounds, hit explosion and lead optimization services,
process optimization, purification and analysis of compound libraries,
in vitro ADMET bioanalytical services, the production of GMP clinical
samples and radiosynthesis services. SCYNEXIS' website is located at
www.scynexis.com.

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve
significant risks and uncertainties. The actual results, performance or
achievements of Adherex might differ materially from the results,
performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking
statements. Such forward-looking statements include, without limitation,
those regarding the drug development plans of Adherex, both alone and
through the agreement with SCYNEXIS, as well as the expected benefits,
timing and results. Adherex can provide no assurance that the
development plans will proceed as currently anticipated or that expected
benefits, timing or results will be realized. Adherex is subject to
risks inherent in the biopharmaceutical industry, including the early
stage of its product candidates, its reliance on collaborations and its
history of losses. For a more detailed discussion of related risk
factors, please refer to Adherex's public filings available at
www.sedar.com and www.sec.gov.

-30-

Contact Information

  • FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
    ADHEREX
    Melissa Matson
    Director, Corporate Communications
    (919) 484-8484
    or
    SCYNEXIS:
    Rick Rountree
    Rick Rountree Communications
    (919) 878-1144
    Rick@Rickrountree.com
    or
    ADHEREX:
    Dr. Robin Norris
    President and Chief Operating Officer
    (919) 484-8484
    or
    SCYNEXIS (U.S.)
    Terry Marquardt
    (919) 544-8600
    Terry.marquardt@scynexis.com
    or
    SCYNEXIS (Europe)
    Dave Roberts
    +44(0) 1277 367003
    Dave.roberts@scynexis.com