November 13, 2006 10:35 ET

IBEX: Analysis of Urinary C2C Distinguishes Between Individuals with Painful Knees and Individuals Identified by MRI to Have Early Osteoarthritis

IBEX Characterizes Urinary C2C Collagen Break-Down Biomarker For Arthritis Diagnosis, Disease Progression And Therapeutic Response Models

WASHINGTON, DC and MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 13, 2006) - Today at the 70th Annual Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, IBEX Technologies Inc. (TSX:IBT), an innovator in the development of diagnostics for the management of arthritis and cancer, announced the results of two clinical studies involving the company's C2C biomarker assay. C2C is a biomarker of cartilage degradation and re-modeling, a normal process that is found in children and adults with osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The C2C assay currently sold measures the amount of real-time collagen degradation in serum, which allows researchers to monitor the progression of OA and RA. Based on encouraging preliminary results, IBEX plans to launch a urine-based C2C assay at the end of 2006.

Presentation # 265: Jolanda Cibere (et al.) reported on the ability of a urinary analysis of the C2C biomarker to distinguish between individuals with painful knees, but with no abnormalities detectable by MRI, and individuals identified by MRI. to have very early OA The authors found that C2C was significantly elevated in very early OA, indicating that urinary analysis of the C2C biomarker may be useful for identifying individuals with OA, even those with very early stage disease.

A. Robin Poole, Ph.D., DSc, a professor emeritus at McGill University's department of surgery and Scientific Director Emeritus of the Canadian Arthritis Network commented on the study, "This study shows that urinary C2C can distinguish early, pre-radiographic OA from normal painful knees. These important findings address a major unmet medical need."

Presentation #42: Lindsay E. King (et al.), of IBEX: The study group reported on the first characterization of the C2C collagen break-down products in human samples. In arthritis, degradation of cartilage is not balanced by synthesis and repair, causing a net loss of cartilage over time. The C2C biomarker has been shown in animal and human studies to be elevated in cases of OA and RA. Knowing the end results of the collagen degradation process will lead to a better understanding of the disease process and also give support for the utility of the C2C biomarker in arthritis diagnostics.

Paul Baehr, President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of IBEX commented, "These important data elucidate the biochemical characterization the C2C biomarker in the urine of adults and children. This biochemical characterization was the starting point for designing the new IBEX C2C urine assay which is currently in development and scheduled for market release at the end of 2006. The Cibere data showed for the first time that the C2C biomarker is significantly elevated in the urine of very early OA patients, before the disease can be detected by x-ray. This may pave the way for new tools for the early diagnosis of arthritis."

Additional IBEX related study results presented at the ACR include:

In Presentation #1457: Ronan H. Mullan (et al.) successfully used C2C and C1,2C biomarkers as measures of collagen degradation in their efforts to elucidate the role of acute phase apoprotein Serum Amyloid A in inflammatory arthritis.

Presentation #1806: K. Briot (et al.) successfully used C2C and CP II as biomarkers of collagen degradation and synthesis respectively in a study on the therapeutic effects of anti-TNF alpha treatment on spondylarthropy patients. The authors showed that anti-TNF alpha therapy caused a reduction in C2C levels and an increase in CP II levels, demonstrating that the treatment reduced cartilage destruction and increased repair (synthesis).

About IBEX's Arthritis Program

IBEX's OA and RA biomarker assays utilize certain molecules found in blood that are by-products of collagen degradation and synthesis. IBEX's arthritis biomarker assay kits are currently being used by leading academic researchers and many of the world's top pharmaceutical companies, to more effectively measure the efficacy of new arthritis treatments and to identify patients that are more likely to respond to potential therapies or those that are more likely to develop progressive diseases.

Key validating data for the IBEX's arthritis assays were presented at the 2004 and 2005 American College of Rheumatology meeting by Centocor, marketers of the anti-TNF alpha / anti-arthritic compound, REMICADE®, regarding the levels of certain biomarkers in a subset of patients from the ASPIRE® study. The ASPIRE study is the largest trial ever conducted in early RA. Results indicated that IBEX's C2C biomarkers assay tracked well with one of the study's more important clinical endpoints.

It is estimated that 10 million people worldwide are affected by RA and that over 80 million people are impacted by OA. Further, the number of affected people grows as the population of the world continues to age. These two forms of arthritis are the most prevalent and represent the greatest potential for diagnosis and treatment. There is no cure for OA and drug management is palliative and relies on the use of analgesics such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). For RA, there is a wider range of drugs to treat this disease including the use of newly discovered disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), which target the immune system and slow down the progression of disease.

About IBEX

IBEX markets a number of products, including its high-purity proprietary enzymes (heparinases and chondroitinases), as well as a series of arthritis and kallikrein-based assays. Heparinase I IBEX is used in many leading hemostasis monitoring devices, while IBEX arthritis assays are used by leading pharmaceutical companies for research purposes.

IBEX research is focused on the development of diagnostics for the management of arthritis and cancer. The Company's arthritis program is based on a series of biomarkers of cartilage degradation and synthesis. The Company's cancer diagnostic program is based on a novel family of genes known as kallikreins. For more information, please visit the Company's web site at www.ibex.ca.

For more information about the American College of Rheumatology or to view study abstracts please visit http://www.rheumatology.org/.

Safe Harbor Statement

All of the statements contained in this news release, other than statements of fact that are independently verifiable at the date hereof, are forward-looking statements. Such statements, based as they are on the current expectations of management, inherently involve numerous risks and uncertainties, known and unknown. Some examples of known risks are: the impact of general economic conditions, general conditions in the pharmaceutical industry, changes in the regulatory environment in the jurisdictions in which IBEX does business, stock market volatility, fluctuations in costs, and changes to the competitive environment due to consolidation or otherwise. Consequently, actual future results may differ materially from the anticipated results expressed in the forward-looking statements. IBEX disclaims any intention or obligation to update these statements.

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