July 21, 2005 03:00 ET

NicOx announces important progress in Ophthalmology collaboration with Pfizer

Sophia-Antipolis cedex -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 21, 2005 -- July 21, 2005. Sophia Antipolis, France.

NicOx S.A. (Eurolist: NICOX) today announced that it has made important progress in its research, option, development and licensing agreement with Pfizer Inc., which is focused on the development of nitric oxide-donating compounds in the area of Ophthalmology. Several compounds have been selected for their superior activity to reference compounds in an in vivo eye disease model. These will undergo further testing with the aim of identifying the final candidate for clinical development.

Eye diseases affect millions of people worldwide and can lead to impaired vision or total blindness. Many important eye conditions still have no effective treatment, while improved drugs are needed in other areas. Furthermore, the aging of the population has led to a rapidly growing incidence of these conditions in the world's major pharmaceutical markets.

In this first stage of the collaboration, Pfizer and NicOx have been jointly responsible for the research project, under the supervision of a Joint Steering Committee. NicOx has synthesized and characterized a number of nitric oxide-donating compounds, which have been submitted to a battery of preclinical tests to determine whether they fulfill a number of 'go / no-go' criteria relating to, among other things, activity in preclinical models and safety and tolerability. Several compounds have successfully fulfilled all these criteria and have demonstrated superior activity, compared to reference compounds, in an in vivo eye disease model. Additionally, a number of other compounds have fulfilled all the criteria except those related to the in vivo model, where results are still expected. The two Companies have agreed that the project should now focus on selecting the candidate for development. To this end, the compounds mentioned above have been entered into the final round of analysis, to be conducted by Pfizer.

Michele Garufi, Chairman and CEO of NicOx, commented: "We are very pleased with the progress of this collaboration with Pfizer and are encouraged by the results obtained so far. However, Pfizer's future decision to exercise its option will depend on the successful selection of a candidate for clinical development and business and strategic considerations relevant to Pfizer."

Martin Mackay, Senior Vice-President, Worldwide Research & Technology of Pfizer Inc., added: "Pfizer is very encouraged by the progress of this collaboration with NicOx and is hopeful that it will soon yield drug candidates with the potential to become important new medicines for the treatment of patients suffering from a high medical need ophthalmic disease."

The collaborative agreement was signed in August 2004 and granted Pfizer an option to obtain an exclusive worldwide license to the nitric oxide-donating compounds under study. NicOx has received E2 million from Pfizer under the agreement so-far and stands to receive a further E35 million, plus royalties, if the collaboration results in the successful commercial development of a product.

NicOx S.A. is an emerging pharmaceutical company involved in the research and development of nitric oxide-donating drugs with superior efficacy and safety profiles in the inflammation, pain and cardiovascular therapeutic areas.

NicOx seeks to commercialize its products through partnerships and co-development agreements where it maintains future marketing rights for specialist products.

NicOx S.A. (Bloomberg: COX:FP, Reuters: NCOX.LN), headquartered in Sophia-Antipolis, France, is a public company listed on the Eurolist of Euronext Paris (segment: Next Economy).

The elements included in this communication may contain forward looking statements subject to certain risks and uncertainties. Actual results of the company may differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements because of different risks factors described in the company's document de reference.


NicOx: Karl Hanks - Manager of Corporate Relations and Market Analysis - Tel +33 (0)497 15 22 03 - -

Investors in the United States - Burns McClellan: Frannie Pollack - / Laura Siino - - Tel +1 212 213 0006

Financial Dynamics: Jonathan Birt - Tel +1 212 850 56 34 - / Julia Phillips - Tel +44 (0)20 7831 3113 -

NicOx S.A.,

2455 route des Dolines, Espace Gaïa II, BP313, 06906 Sophia Antipolis cedex, France. Tel. +33 (0)4 9238 7020 - Fax +33 (0)4 9238 7030

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