SOURCE: SRI International

January 31, 2008 08:30 ET

Lidia Sambucetti Joins SRI International to Lead Cancer Drug Discovery Programs

MENLO PARK, CA--(Marketwire - January 31, 2008) - SRI International, an independent nonprofit research and development organization, today announced that Lidia Sambucetti, Ph.D., has joined its Biosciences Division as senior director of cancer research. In her new role at SRI, Sambucetti will direct cancer drug discovery efforts, collaborating with scientific and business development colleagues to advance the translational research programs of the Biosciences Division.

"Dr. Sambucetti's strengths as a researcher and team leader, combined with her accomplishments in drug discovery and development, make her a valuable addition to SRI," said Nathan Collins, Ph.D., executive director, Drug Discovery, SRI Biosciences Division. "Her skills will enhance SRI's capabilities in the discovery and development of drugs for the treatment of cancer, and we welcome her to the organization."

Sambucetti has joined SRI from Telik, Inc., where she was director of biochemistry. Prior to her work with Telik, Sambucetti was the director of drug screening and toxicology at Xenogen Corporation, where she established a program to create innovative imaging tools for compound screening and headed collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Previously, Sambucetti worked at Novartis, where she was the project leader for the histone deacetylase program, which resulted in the discovery and development of a lead candidate which is presently in Phase II clinical trials. She received her Ph.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and did postdoctoral work at Stanford University.

SRI's basic research and drug discovery programs have led to a number of marketed drugs, several more partnered and in clinical development, and four preclinical candidates.

Highlights of marketed and clinical stage SRI cancer drugs include:

--  Targretin® (bexarotene), the retinoid receptor ligand marketed by
--  Tirapazamine, the hypoxic tissue-selective cytotoxin, whose rights
    were recently returned to SRI by Sanofi-Aventis;
--  TAS-108, the selective estrogen receptor modulator, licensed to Taiho;
--  PDX (pralatrexate), an improved methotrexate, under development by

Current preclinical SRI cancer drugs include:

--  SR16157, a dual-acting sulphatase inhibitor and SERM for the treatment
    of breast cancer, supported by NCI RAID through to completion of all IND
    enabling studies.
--  SR16388, an orally bioavailable selective small molecule which
    inhibits angiogenesis, has successfully completed toxicology and
    pharmacology studies and is now being developed under the NCI RAID program.
--  SR13668, an Akt pathway inhibitor, which was developed through an NCI
    RAPID award and was recently announced to be entering a Phase 0 trial at
    the Mayo Clinic.

"I am thrilled to be joining such an accomplished and well-respected research institute," said Dr. Sambucetti. "I look forward to working together with my colleagues in the SRI drug discovery group to develop and advance life-saving treatments."

About SRI's Biosciences Division

SRI International's Biosciences Division teams with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academia, foundations, and government agencies to solve important problems in global health. SRI Biosciences conducts basic research, drug discovery, and drug development, including contract research. SRI has all of the resources necessary to take R&D programs from "idea to IND"™ -- from initial discovery to investigational new drug applications to start human clinical trials -- and specializes in cancer, immunology and inflammation, infectious disease, and neuroscience research. To date, SRI has helped advance more than 100 drugs into clinical trials, including a number of its own discoveries, several of which have reached the market. SRI is also working at the nexus of science and technology to create new technology platforms for the next generation of drug discovery and development in areas such as diagnostics, drug delivery, medical devices, and systems biology.

About SRI International

Silicon Valley-based SRI International ( is one of the world's leading independent research and technology development organizations. Founded as Stanford Research Institute in 1946, SRI has been meeting the strategic needs of clients for more than 60 years. The nonprofit research institute performs client-sponsored research and development for government agencies, commercial businesses, and private foundations. In addition to conducting contract R&D, SRI licenses its technologies, forms strategic partnerships, and creates spin-off companies.

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