Ecopia BioSciences Inc.
TSX : EIA

Ecopia BioSciences Inc.

August 17, 2006 10:47 ET

Ecopia to Unveil New Data on ECO-4601's Mechanism of Action at the 12th Salk Institute Meeting in California

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Aug. 17, 2006) - Ecopia BioSciences Inc. (TSX:EIA) will unveil new data at the 12th Salk Institute Meeting on Protein Phosphorylation and Cell Signaling, starting tomorrow in La Jolla, California. These data describe supporting evidence that ECO-4601 is a potent inhibitor of the RAS-mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway, an important target pathway for anticancer therapies. The scientific community recognizes this pathway as the most strategic target in the fight against cancer therefore, anticancer agents inhibiting this pathway are currently the most valued by the industry. ECO-4601 has been shown to inhibit this pathway at a strategic point allowing for a broad action towards many types of cancer such as brain, pancreatic, lung, colorectal, ovarian, breast and prostate.

Considering the central role of this pathway in regulating growth, survival and spread of a broad spectrum of human cancer cells, and the selective binding of ECO-4601 to the peripheral benzodiazepine receptor (PBR), a receptor highly expressed in cancer cells, ECO-4601's dual activity now positions the compound as a unique and new targeted anticancer drug candidate.

Dr. Pierre Falardeau, Ecopia's President and Chief Executive Officer, stated that: " This is great news for us. ECO-4601's dual activity could position our lead compound as potentially dominant in the market currently commanded by blockbuster anticancer agents. This discovery also provides key strategic advantages in terms of targeting cancer indications as well as monitoring the pharmacological efficacy in humans."

The scientific data, presented in the form of a poster, reveal that in addition to its strong affinity for the PBR, ECO-4601 completely inhibits EGF-induced phosphorylation of RAF and ERK1/2 in four cancer cell lines tested. However, ECO-4601 does not inhibit protein prenylation suggesting that the inhibition occurs post prenylation and prior to RAF phosphorylation.

The poster, entitled "ECO-4601, a Novel Peripheral Benzodiazepine Receptor Ligand, is also a Potent Inhibitor of the Ras-Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Pathway" will be available on Ecopia's website.

About ECO-4601 and Ecopia

Ecopia is finding novel anticancer therapies from soil-dwelling microorganisms that are one of the most prolific sources of drugs. Our current focus is to move our flagship compound ECO-4601 through the different stages of its Phase I clinical trial. ECO-4601 is a novel small molecule that crosses the blood brain barrier and is effective in significantly inhibiting growth of primary brain tumor and other types of cancers in xenografts. Just like well-known chemotherapies such as doxorubicin and mitomycin C, ECO-4601 comes from a microorganism that lives in common soil. However, unlike these drugs that were discovered many decades ago, ECO-4601 represents a new chemical class that is the fruit of a very unique drug discovery platform called the DECIPHER® technology.

The common shares of Ecopia are listed on the TSX (symbol: EIA).

This press release contains forward-looking statements that reflect the Company's current expectations regarding future events. The forward-looking statements, including the status of ECO-4601 as a new targeted anticancer drug candidate and the potential market position for such targeted agents, are based on the data presented indicating that ECO-4601 is a potent inhibitor of the RAS-mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. Forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainties. Actual events could differ materially from those projected here and depend on a number of factors, including the results of on-going investigations into the mechanism of action for ECO-4601, scientific uncertainties relating to correlation between preclinical animal data and human clinical data, the success and timely completion of clinical studies and trials, the ability of the Company to obtain additional financing to fund future operations and the impact of general economic conditions. Investors are cautioned against placing undue reliance on forward-looking statements. A more complete discussion of the risks and uncertainties facing the Company appears in Ecopia's press release dated July 11, 2006, regarding operating highlights and financial results for the second quarter of fiscal year 2006 and the 2005 annual information form, both of which are available on www.sedar.com.

Contact Information