MethylGene Inc.
TSX : MYG

MethylGene Inc.

August 21, 2007 12:01 ET

MethylGene and Pharmion Announce U.S. Orphan Drug Designation Granted for MGCD0103 for the Treatment of Hodgkin's Lymphoma

MONTREAL, QUEBEC and BOULDER, COLORADO--(Marketwire - Aug. 21, 2007) - MethylGene Inc. (TSX:MYG), along with its collaborator Pharmion Corporation (NASDAQ:PHRM), today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has designated the Companies' histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, MGCD0103, as an Orphan Drug for the treatment of Hodgkin's lymphoma in the United States. Criteria for designation require that the product be intended for treatment of a condition affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the United States, and the application must include a rationale for the use of the drug in the rare disease or condition.

Preliminary data from a MGCD0103 Phase II monotherapy clinical trial in relapsed and refractory Hodgkin's lymphoma were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2007 Annual Meeting in June and were included in the application for Orphan Drug Designation. The data demonstrated an objective complete response (CR) plus partial response (PR) rate of 40 percent and a disease control rate (CR + PR + stable disease for greater than 6 cycles) of 45 percent in a population of 20 evaluable patients that had relapsed disease or were refractory (unresponsive) to all previous treatments, including, in most cases, bone marrow transplantation. Fatigue and gastrointestinal side effects were the most common adverse events and dose modification was effective in many of these patients.

Orphan Drug Designation allows special incentives for sponsors planning to test a product for use in a rare disease or condition. These incentives include, tax credits, research and development grant funding, and reduced filing fees during development or at the time of application for marketing approval. Once approved, the product may qualify for seven years of marketing exclusivity in the United States.

MGCD0103 is an orally-administered, isotype-selective HDAC inhibitor. The compound is currently in two Phase I/II clinical trials, in combination with Vidaza® for hematological malignancies and with Gemzar® in solid tumors, and in four Phase II monotherapy clinical trials in hematological malignancies.

About Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) is a cancer of the lymphatic system that begins in the lymph nodes and progresses to other organs, including the lungs, liver, bone and bone marrow. It is characterized by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells. Currently, there is no known cause of the disease, but epigenetic alterations, including histone acetylation, have been identified. In addition, the Epstein-Barr virus, HIV and familial history are known risk factors. The disease is slightly more prevalent in men than women, and the median age of diagnosis is 38.

About MethylGene

MethylGene Inc. (TSX:MYG) is a publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapeutics for cancer. The Company's lead product, MGCD0103, is an oral isotype-selective HDAC inhibitor presently in multiple clinical trials for solid tumors and hematological malignancies, including Phase II monotherapy and Phase I/II combination trials with Vidaza® and Gemzar®. MGCD265 is an oral kinase inhibitor targeting the c-Met, Tie-2, Ron and VEGF receptor tyrosine kinases. In addition, MethylGene has several preclinical programs: MGCD290 an HDAC inhibitor in combination with azoles for fungal infections; an HDAC program for Huntington's disease; a sirtuins program for cancer; and a beta-lactamase program to overcome antibiotic resistance. MethylGene's development and commercialization partners include Pharmion Corporation, Taiho Pharmaceutical and EnVivo Pharmaceuticals. Please visit our website at www.methylgene.com.

About Pharmion

Pharmion is a leading global oncology company focused on acquiring, developing and commercializing innovative products for the treatment of hematology and oncology patients in the U.S., Europe and additional international markets. Pharmion has a number of products on the market including the world's first approved epigenetic drug, Vidaza®, a DNA demethylating agent. For additional information about Pharmion, please visit the company's website at www.pharmion.com.

Certain statements contained in this news release, other than statements of fact that are independently verifiable at the date hereof, may constitute forward-looking statements. Such statements, based as they are on the current expectations of management of MethylGene, inherently involve numerous risks and uncertainties, known and unknown, many of which are beyond MethylGene's control. These risks and uncertainties could cause future results, performance or achievements to differ significantly from the results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such results, performance or achievements include, but are not limited to, the timing and effects of regulatory action; the continuation of collaborations; the results of clinical trials; the timing of enrollment or completion of clinical trials; the success, efficacy or safety of MGCD0103, MGCD265 or MGCD290; the ability to scale up, formulate and manufacture sufficient GMP, clinical or commercialization quantities of MGCD0103, MGCD265 or MGCD290, and the relative success or the lack of success in developing and gaining regulatory approval and/or market acceptance for any compound or new product including MGCD0103, MGCD265 or MGCD290. Such risks include, but are not limited to, the impact of general economic conditions, economic conditions in the pharmaceutical industry, changes in the regulatory environment in the jurisdictions in which MethylGene does business, stock market volatility, fluctuations in costs, expectations with respect to our intellectual property position and our ability to protect our intellectual property and operate our business without infringing upon the intellectual property rights of others, changes in the competitive landscape including changes in the standard of care for the various indications in which MethylGene is involved, and changes to the competitive environment due to consolidation, as well as other risks, which you are urged to read, as described in MethylGene's Annual Information Form for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2006, under the heading 'risk factors,' the final prospectus filed on February 23, 2007, and all other documents filed by the Company that can be found at www.sedar.com. Consequently, actual future results may differ materially from the anticipated results expressed in the forward-looking statements. The reader should not place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements included in this presentation. These statements speak only as an update on the date they are made and MethylGene is under no obligation to revise such statements as a result of any event, circumstance or otherwise except in accordance with law.

Contact Information

  • MethylGene Inc.:
    Rx Communications Group, LLC
    Rhonda Chiger
    917-322-2569
    rchiger@rxir.com
    or
    MethylGene Inc.
    Donald F. Corcoran
    President & CEO
    514-337-3333 ext. 373
    mctavishk@methylgene.com
    or
    Pharmion Corporation:
    Breanna Burkart
    Director, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
    720-564-9144
    bburkart@pharmion.com
    or
    Anna Sussman
    Director, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
    720-564-9143
    asussman@pharmion.com