Adherex Technologies Inc.
TSX : AHX
AMEX : ADH

Adherex Technologies Inc.

June 04, 2006 14:56 ET

Data to be presented on Adherex's Eniluracil at ASCO 2006 Annual Meeting

ATLANTA, GEORGIA--(CCNMatthews - June 4, 2006) -

Study results further support Adherex's approach to the development of eniluracil + 5-FU

Adherex Technologies Inc. (TSX:AHX)(AMEX:ADH), a biopharmaceutical company with a broad portfolio of oncology products under development, today announced that Jeanne Fourie, PhD, and Vincenzo Guarcello, MD, from the laboratory of Robert D. Diasio, MD, Chairman, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham, Alabama and Associate Director for Basic Sciences, UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Adherex investigator, will be presenting data from a study on the effects of eniluracil on the enzymes responsible for the activation of the chemotherapeutic agent 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) at the 2006 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, a major international cancer conference (Abstract No.2058, Poster title "Dose Dependent Inhibition of Uridine Phosphorylase (UP) by Eniluracil (EU): Was the Clinical Inferiority of the EU/5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) Phase III Trials Due to an Unrecognized Inhibition of 5-FU Anabolism?", General poster session today from 2-6 p.m.).

The study involved direct measurements of the potential major enzymes in human liver (uridine phosphorylase (UP), thymidine phosphorylase (TP) and orotate phosphoribosyl transferase (OPRT)) involved in 5-FU activation and the dose effect of eniluracil on those activating enzymes. The study found that eniluracil can reversibly and competitively inhibit UP and TP at clinically relevant doses. OPRT was not found to be significantly involved in 5-FU activation. These data further support Adherex's proprietary approach to administering eniluracil and 5-FU in combination.

"These data provide specific information on the enzymatic effects of eniluracil and help to further explain the results of GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) previous clinical trials of the combination of eniluracil and 5-FU. These data also highlight the critical importance of proper dose and schedule to make the combination clinically effective," said Dr. Diasio.

William P. Peters, M.D., Ph.D., Adherex's Chairman and CEO, said, "Thus far, every aspect of our hypothesis for why GSK's Phase III trials failed has turned out to be correct. In our Phase I trial, we have already demonstrated that a dose of eniluracil one-tenth of that used by GSK effectively inhibits dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) for 48-72 hours. We have been able to increase the dose of 5-FU by 20-fold over the dose used by GSK and believe we are close to identifying the optimal dose. And, as was demonstrated in the data reported today, eniluracil can competitively and reversibly inhibit the enzymes involved in making 5-FU an effective anti-cancer agent."

Adherex's clinical development program for eniluracil includes a series of three preliminary studies to optimize Adherex's proprietary method of administration for the combination of eniluracil and 5-FU with the goal of returning eniluracil to Phase III as early as 2007. The first Phase I study, initiated in January 2006, is intended to define the maximum tolerated dose of Adherex's proprietary dose and schedule of the combination of eniluracil and 5-FU. The second study, a proof of mechanism trial, is designed to confirm the dose effect of eniluracil directly in human tumor cells. The third study, expected to begin in the second quarter of 2006 in Asia, is intended to establish the safety of Adherex's proprietary dose and schedule in the Asian population and to provide initial efficacy information in hepatocellular (liver) cancer, for which the Company has received orphan drug designation in the United States.

Adherex in-licensed eniluracil from GSK in July 2005 and is developing eniluracil to improve the therapeutic value and effectiveness of 5-FU, one of the world's most commonly used chemotherapies.

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 multiple products in the clinical stage of development, including ADH-1 (Exherin™), eniluracil and sodium thiosulfate (STS). ADH-1, our lead biotechnology compound, selectively targets N-cadherin, a protein present on certain tumor cells and established blood vessels that feed solid tumors. Eniluracil, an oral dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) inhibitor, was previously under development by GlaxoSmithKline for oncology indications. 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.

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve significant risks and uncertainties. The actual results, performance or achievements of the Company might differ materially from the results, performance or achievements of the Company expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements include, without limitation, those regarding the development plans of the Company and the expected timing and results of such development. We can provide no assurance that such development will proceed as currently anticipated or that the expected timing or results of such development will be realized. We are subject to various risks, including the uncertainties of clinical trials, drug development and regulatory review, other risks inherent in the biopharmaceutical industry, the early stage of our product candidates, our reliance on collaborative partners, our need for additional capital to fund our operations, and our history of losses. For a more detailed discussion of related risk factors, please refer to our public filings available at www.sedar.com and www.sec.gov.

Contact Information

  • Adherex Technologies Inc.
    Melissa Matson
    Director, Corporate Communications
    (919) 484-8484
    matsonm@adherex.com