Adherex Technologies Inc.

Adherex Technologies Inc.

March 11, 2005 08:00 ET

Adherex and National Cancer Institute to Collaborate on Clinical Development of ADH-1 'Exherin 'TM''


NEWS RELEASE TRANSMITTED BY CCNMatthews

FOR: ADHEREX TECHNOLOGIES INC.

TSX SYMBOL: AHX
AMEX SYMBOL: ADH

MARCH 11, 2005 - 08:00 ET

Adherex and National Cancer Institute to Collaborate
on Clinical Development of ADH-1 'Exherin 'TM''

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NORTH CAROLINA--(CCNMatthews - March 11, 2005) -
Adherex Technologies Inc. (AMEX:ADH)(TSX:AHX), a biopharmaceutical
company with a broad portfolio of oncology products under development,
today announced that the Drug Development Group (DDG) of the U.S.
National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Division of Cancer Treatment and
Diagnosis has approved a Level III collaboration for the clinical
development of the Company's lead biotechnology compound ADH-1, also
known as Exherin™, provided additional preclinical studies be
conducted.

The NCI, which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH),
approved a collaboration with Adherex following their formal review of
existing preclinical and clinical data on ADH-1. As part of the
collaboration, the NCI's Developmental Therapeutics Program and Cancer
Therapy Evaluation Program will negotiate a Cooperative Research and
Development Agreement (CRADA) with Adherex to sponsor clinical trials
and additional preclinical studies of ADH-1. These studies will further
evaluate its anticancer and vascular targeting effects, both as a single
agent and in combination with other agents in patients with advanced
resistant cancers that express the molecular target N-cadherin. The
exact design of the trials to be sponsored by the NCI will be determined
after the execution of the CRADA.

"The DDG's approval of a collaboration with Adherex should facilitate
and accelerate the evaluation and development of ADH-1," said William P.
Peters, MD, PhD, Chairman and CEO of Adherex. "This agreement, when
fully implemented, will provide Adherex access to the NCI's network of
scientists conducting NCI-sponsored clinical trials. We anticipate the
NCI will study a variety of ADH-1 administration schedules and tumor
types, particularly in combination with chemotherapeutic and other
anti-cancer therapies, and thus will effectively broaden the development
of our drug. In addition, Adherex will continue the Company's Phase
Ib/II and Phase II trials as outlined in our recent corporate update."

To date, 57 cycles of ADH-1 have been administered to 41 patients in the
ongoing Phase I trial. The drug has been generally well tolerated at
doses of up to 840 mg/m2 and is now being studied at a dose of 1000
mg/m2. Three of 17 patients with tumors that express the molecular
target N-cadherin have demonstrated evidence of anti-tumor activity
following a single dose of ADH-1. The Company expects to complete
enrollment in its Phase I study later this month. In January 2005,
Adherex initiated a Phase Ib/II study in Europe, with actives sites in
Switzerland and Italy, to investigate a weekly dosing schedule. The
Company expects to initiate a second Phase Ib/II trial of ADH-1 with a
daily x 5 (Monday through Friday) dosing schedule in North America in
early 2005. The Company is also planning a Phase II program for ADH-1.
The first Phase II study, expected to begin in the second quarter of
2005, will investigate an every three-week dosing schedule of ADH-1
given as a single agent to patients with one of a number of different
N-cadherin positive tumor types.

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.

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 clinical development plans of
the Company, both alone and through collaborations, as well as the
expected benefits, timing and results. We can provide no assurance that
the clinical development will proceed as currently anticipated or that
expected benefits, timing or results will be realized. We are subject to
risks inherent in the biopharmaceutical industry, including the early
stage of our product candidates, the uncertainties of clinical trials
and regulatory review, our reliance on collaborations 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.

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Contact Information

  • FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
    Adherex Technologies Inc.
    Melissa Matson
    Director, Corporate Communications
    (919) 484-8484
    matsonm@adherex.com