MethylGene Inc.
TSX : MYG

MethylGene Inc.

November 16, 2005 07:00 ET

MethylGene Updates on Multi-Targeted Kinase Inhibitor Program, Discloses Additional Anti-Angiogenic Targets

MONTREAL, CANADA--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 16, 2005) - MethylGene Inc. (TSX:MYG) a biopharmaceutical company, today announced preclinical results regarding its multi-targeted kinase inhibitor program in a poster entitled, "Novel, Orally Active Multi-Kinase Inhibitors of c-Met and VEGF Receptor Family Exhibit Potent Antiangiogenic Activity and Antitumour Efficacy in Preclinical Models" (Poster A262). These date were presented during the EORTC-NCI-AACR (European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer, National Cancer Institute, American Association for Cancer Research) International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics, which met in Philadelphia from November 14-17, 2005. The data also disclosed that in addition to c-met and all three VEGF receptor targets, MethylGene's lead molecules also target Tie-2, and Ron kinases.

MethylGene has designed multiple series of small molecule lead kinase inhibitors that target a number of key kinases involved in tumour development and tumour blood vessel formation (angiogenesis). VEGF receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), c-met, Tie-2, and Ron are receptors involved in the initiation of angiogenesis and/or tumour growth. The optimized kinase inhibitors are orally available, have low nanomolar potency against target enzymes, show no overt toxicity and have broad spectrum anti-tumour activity in vivo at well-tolerated doses. The lead molecules consistently demonstrate equal or superior oral anti-tumour efficacy when compared to several competitor anti-angiogenesis inhibitors which are currently in late stage clinical trials. Moreover, some of the lead compounds have properties that allow for testing in ophthalmologic applications (in the eye) and proof-of-concept testing has begun with an undisclosed eye care company. The Company's goal is to have identified a clinical candidate to begin IND enabling studies in 3-9 months.

"All of these targets play a role in cancer and the ability to attack them with one drug is potentially a significant advancement," noted Dr. Jeffrey M. Besterman, Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of MethylGene.

RTKs are a large set of enzymes that are used to transmit signals inside cells. In addition to the critical role of RTKs in angiogenesis, RTKs may also be involved in tumour development. Over-expression or activation of c-met has been associated with poor prognosis in patients with various tumour types and simultaneously targeting c-met along with other key RTKs could be therapeutically beneficial. Given the market success of anti-cancer kinase inhibitors such as Gleevec™, Erbitux™, Avastin™ and Herceptin®, there is currently intense interest in targeting kinases and particularly those kinases involved in angiogenesis as treatments for cancer and other diseases such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and rheumatoid arthritis.

About MethylGene

MethylGene is a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapeutics in cancer and infectious disease. Two cancer product candidates are currently in clinical trials: MGCD0103, partnered with Taiho Pharmaceutical for certain Asian countries, and MG98, partnered with MGI Pharma for North America.

MGCD0103 is currently in Phase I dose-escalation monotherapy trials against solid tumours and hematological malignancies and also in a Phase I/II combination trial with azacitidine. MG98 has entered a randomized two-step Phase II combination trial with interferon alpha in metastatic renal cell cancer. MethylGene has an exclusive license agreement with Merck & Co. for the development and commercialization of small molecule beta-lactamase inhibitors to overcome antibiotic resistance. MethylGene has a portfolio of preclinical programs for its multi-targeted kinase and histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors for both oncology and non-oncology indications, and continues to seek partnering opportunities in these areas. Please visit MethylGene's website at www.methylgene.com.

Except for historical information, this news release may contain forward-looking statements, which reflect the Company's current expectation regarding future events. These forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainties,(which can be found in the Company's Annual Information Form dated December 31, 2004, and can be found on www.sedar.com) which may cause but are not limited to, changing market conditions, the successful and timely completion of clinical studies, the establishment of corporate alliances, the impact of competitive products and pricing, new product development, uncertainties related to the regulatory approval process and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's ongoing quarterly and annual reporting.

Contact Information

  • MethylGene Inc.
    Donald F. Corcoran
    President & CEO
    (514) 337-3333 ext. 224
    (514) 337-0550 (FAX)
    corcorand@methylgene.com
    or
    MethylGene Inc.
    Andrea Gilpin
    Director, IR & Project Mgmt
    (514) 337-3333 ext.416
    (514) 337-0550 (FAX)
    gilpina@methylgene.com