Med BioGene Inc.
TSX VENTURE : MBI

Med BioGene Inc.

April 23, 2008 08:30 ET

Med BioGene and University Health Network Collaborate to Commercialize Critical Lung Cancer Prognostic Test

Test to assist in targeting chemotherapy to those patients who are most likely to benefit

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA and TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 23, 2008) - Med BioGene Inc. (TSX VENTURE:MBI) and the University Health Network (UHN) today announced that they have entered into license and collaboration agreements providing MBI with exclusive, world-wide rights to develop and commercialize a critical prognostic test for early stage non-small-cell lung cancer developed by UHN. The test will be marketed under MBI's trade name LungExpress Dx™.

LungExpress Dx™ is a gene expression-based assay that provides valuable information regarding each patient's prognosis for survival to more effectively guide treatment and improve the selection of patients for chemotherapy following surgical removal of their cancerous tumour.

By using LungExpress Dx™, physicians and their patients may more effectively determine, in the case of patients predicted to have a good prognosis, whether to avoid unnecessary, highly toxic and expensive chemotherapy or, in the case of patients predicted to have a poor prognosis, to undergo chemotherapy to increase the likelihood of a cure. By assisting in targeting treatment to those patients who are most likely to benefit, the test has the potential to improve patient outcomes and save substantial treatment costs. If diagnosed early and properly treated, lung cancer may be cured.

Diagnosis and treatment of patients with lung cancer costs approximately $9.6 billion per year in the United States alone, with an average per patient expenditure of approximately $21,000 in the first year following diagnosis.

The prognostic assay was developed over the last four years by a UHN team of experienced and internationally acclaimed researchers and physicians at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. The team was led by Dr. Ming-Sound Tsao, holder of the M. Qasim Choksi Chair in Lung Cancer Translational Research, and Dr. Frances A. Shepherd, holder of the Scott Taylor Chair in Lung Cancer Research and the Chair of the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group Lung Cancer Site. Drs. Tsao and Shepherd have in total authored more than 400 articles in peer reviewed journals.

Dr. Tsao noted, "We are proud of the work our team is doing in lung cancer prognosis and in inventing this novel test. We are looking forward to working with Med BioGene to develop this test so that future patients can benefit from our research discoveries."

"This test has the potential to make an immediate impact upon patient care by providing a more significant understanding of each patient's cancer, thus resulting in better-informed, more appropriate treatment decisions. We are moving much closer to the ultimate goal of personalized medicine," said Dr. Shepherd.

The UHN team initially reported the results of their research at the 11th World Conference of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer and the 97th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research, with full publication most recently in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (December 10, 2007; http://jco.ascopubs.org/cgi/content/abstract/25/35/5562).

UHN and MBI will collaborate in even larger-scale testing to confirm the results of LungExpress Dx™ prior to commercialization.

Erinn Broshko, Chief Executive Officer of Med BioGene stated: "We are very pleased to be collaborating with the University Health Network. In addition to acquiring and co-developing a test of significant value, we are partnering with one of the world's top lung cancer research teams to bring this test to market. Patients will benefit. Med BioGene shareholders will benefit. It's a win for everyone involved."

About Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the western world and accounts for more deaths than breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer combined. In the United States, 213,000 new cases of lung cancer were expected in 2007, and more than 160,000 individuals were expected to die as a result of the disease. Approximately 85% of all cases of lung cancer are the non-small-cell type. Furthermore, approximately 30% of all patients will be diagnosed with either stage I or II disease (early stage), which percentage is expected to increase due to continuing advancements in early detection.

Early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer patients are treated primarily by surgical removal of their tumors. However, 30% to 55% of these patients die as a result of the disease, implying that patients diagnosed with the same stage of disease can have markedly different treatment responses and overall outcomes. Currently, tumor stage remains the strongest predictor of survival but fails to account for this difference in patient outcomes. LungExpress Dx™ will address this critical issue by more accurately determining each patient's prognosis for survival in order to effectively guide treatment and improve the selection of patients for chemotherapy.

About Med BioGene

MBI is a life science company focused on the development and commercialization of genomic-based clinical laboratory diagnostic tests for cancer and cardiovascular disease. MBI develops these tests by identifying the genes, known as "biomarkers", which indicate the presence of disease. The development of these tests is the first step towards personalized medicine and will replace the conventional "one drug fits all" approach to disease management.

About UHN and Princess Margaret Hospital

University Health Network consists of Toronto General, Toronto Western and Princess Margaret Hospitals. The scope of research and complexity of cases at University Health Network has made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. It has the largest hospital-based research program in Canada. Princess Margaret Hospital and its research arm, Ontario Cancer Institute, have achieved international reputations as global leaders in the fight against cancer. All three are teaching hospitals affiliated with the University of Toronto.

Certain statements in this press release contain forward-looking information under applicable Canadian securities legislation. Words such as "anticipates", "believes", "estimates", "expects", "intends", "may", "plans", "projects", "will", "would" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking information, although not all forward-looking information contains these identifying words. Forward looking information includes, but is not limited to, that with respect to future profits, future product revenues, future operations and plans, the use of proceeds from financings, the timing of clinical trials and the completion date for clinical trials and the prospects for negotiating partnerships or collaborations and their timing. This forward-looking information is only a prediction based upon MBI's current expectations, and actual events or results may differ materially. MBI may not actually achieve the plans, intentions or expectations disclosed in its forward-looking information. Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties and is based on uncertain assumptions that could cause MBI's actual results and the timing of events to differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking information. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which speaks only as of the date of this press release. MBI's forward-looking information does not reflect the potential impact of any future partnerships, collaborations, acquisitions, mergers, dispositions, joint ventures or investments that MBI may make. All forward-looking information is qualified in its entirety by this cautionary statement and MBI undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking information as a result of new information, future events or otherwise after the date of this press release, other than as required by applicable law.

The TSX Venture Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Contact Information