SOURCE: Upstream Biosciences Inc.

March 10, 2008 08:00 ET

Upstream Biosciences' Novel Agents to Treat Leishmaniasis Demonstrate Promising Safety Profile in Initial Toxicity Testing

Results of First In Vivo Toxicity Tests Indicate Upstream's Novel Anti-Parasitic Drug Candidates Demonstrate Good Safety Profiles

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwire - March 10, 2008) - Upstream Biosciences Inc. (OTCBB: UPBS) today announced that the company's novel drug candidates to treat the parasitic disease leishmaniasis have demonstrated good safety profiles in their first in vivo toxicity tests in mice. The toxicity screening studies were conducted at Makerere University in Uganda, which is also conducting initial efficacy and toxicity screening for Upstream's candidates to treat trypanosomiasis, or African sleeping sickness. An estimated 350 million people in 88 countries are at risk of contracting leishmaniasis each year, and the incidence of infection is on the rise.

"We are encouraged by these positive results from our first toxicity tests in living animals," said Dr. Enock Matovu, the project's lead researcher in the Department of Parasitology and Microbiology at Makerere University. "The leishmaniasis parasite causes painful, disfiguring and potentially lethal infections that are a daily hazard for a significant portion of the world's most disadvantaged populations, yet current drugs are expensive, toxic and too often suffer from poor overall efficacy and the emergence of resistant strains. We are therefore very pleased to be collaborating with Upstream to advance the development of these novel anti-parasitic drugs, and we look forward to reporting the results of further safety and efficacy studies soon."

The Makerere researchers reported that the leishmaniasis candidates were well tolerated by mice at doses that were many times higher than the expected therapeutic dose levels, up to 25 mg/kg, with no signs of serious toxicity.

"Positive initial in vitro tests of biological activity along with these positive initial toxicity data in mice support further testing of these promising compounds," said Dr. Joseph Olobo, Associate Professor of Microbiology, Department of Parasitology and Microbiology at Makerere University and an expert in tropical parasitic diseases. "We support Upstream's innovative efforts to address these devastating parasitic diseases and welcome the opportunity to help advance our scientific understanding of their potential."

"Upstream's advanced computational approach to drug discovery has produced broad spectrum anti-protozoan compounds whose structural class has already demonstrated initial in vitro efficacy against leishmaniasis, trypanosomiasis and most recently malaria," noted Armando Jardim, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Parasitology at the Institute of Parasitology at McGill University. "As a wholly novel class, these agents also have a better chance of working against the increasing problem of drug-resistant strains. I am encouraged to see that in their first in vivo toxicity testing, representatives of the class have performed well, demonstrating a good safety profile at dosages many times higher than the expected therapeutic dose levels."

Upstream's library of novel compounds has demonstrated encouraging therapeutic potential in vitro against the tropical parasitic diseases malaria, leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis, or African sleeping sickness. These three diseases are caused by related parasites.

"These positive toxicity results in mammals represent a major milestone for our program to develop new agents to treat tropical parasitic diseases," said Joel L. Bellenson, Chief Executive Officer of Upstream. "The excellent safety profile seen to date with our novel structural class is another validation of our artificial intelligence approach to drug discovery. This unique approach develops algorithms that leverage our growing knowledge base to filter out potential drug candidates with chemical structural patterns likely to cause toxicity. Similarly, the approach 'filters in' candidates with chemical structures likely to be effective against these challenging pathogens. Based on preclinical testing to date, we are very encouraged that our approach has great potential to produce the safe and effective new drugs that are so urgently needed by the millions at risk of these disabling and deadly diseases."

Upstream CEO Joel Bellenson will be discussing the company's innovative drug development programs for tropical parasitic diseases with other participants at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-sponsored Partnering for Global Health Forum 2008 being held March 11 and 12, 2008 in Washington, D.C.

About Leishmaniasis

Leishmaniasis is a severe, geographically widespread parasitic disease caused by a protozoan flagellate and spread by the bite of infected sand flies. There are several different forms of leishmaniasis. The cutaneous type causes skin sores, the mucocutaneous form causes disfiguring lesions of the oral cavity area and the visceral type affects internal organs such as the spleen, liver and bone marrow. Visceral leishmaniasis can be lethal if untreated. Leishmaniasis is increasing in incidence with an estimated two million cases per year, and 350 million people in 88 countries are estimated to be at risk. More than 90% of the world's cases of visceral leishmaniasis are in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sudan, and Brazil. Leishmaniasis is also found in Mexico, Central America, and South America.

About Makerere University

Makerere University located in Kampala, Uganda is one of sub-Saharan Africa's oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher learning. It is among the largest universities in East and Central Africa, with a student population of over 30,000 undergraduate and 3,000 postgraduate students. Makerere consists of 22 faculties, institutes and schools and is an active center of research. While some faculties including Medicine were founded as early as 1924, Makerere was established as the University of East Africa in 1963, and became an independent national university of the Republic of Uganda in 1970. For more information visit: www.mak.ac.ug

About Upstream Biosciences Inc.

Founded in 2004, Upstream Biosciences is a pioneer in the discovery and development of novel compounds for tropical parasitic diseases and in the development of genetic diagnostics for cancer susceptibility and drug response. Upstream's innovative approach to drug discovery and its proprietary data mining pipeline enable it to apply advanced computational approaches to generating novel drug candidates and to locating and analyzing the genetic variations important to disease progression and drug response. For more information, visit www.upstreambio.com.

Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements: This news release contains "forward-looking statements," as that term is defined in Section 27A of the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the United States Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements in this press release which are not purely historical are forward-looking statements and include any statements regarding beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future. Such forward-looking statements include, among others, the expectation and/or claim, as applicable, that: (i) certain drug candidates with chemical structures identified by the Company will likely be effective against certain pathogens; and (ii) the Company's approach has great potential to produce safe and effective new drugs. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors. Such factors include, among others: (i) the risk that the Company does not execute its business plan; (ii) the inability of the Company to keep pace with technological advancements in the field of genetic diagnostics and the treatment of tropical parasitic diseases; (iii) the Company's inability to adequately protect its intellectual property or the Company's inadvertent infringement of third party intellectual property; (iv) the Company not being able to retain key employees; (v) competitors providing better or cheaper products and technologies; (vi) markets for the Company's products not developing as expected; (vii) the Company's inability to finance its operations or growth; (viii) inability to obtain all necessary government and regulatory approvals; (ix) the inability to effectively market and commercialize the Company's technologies, including the establishment of viable relationships with third parties; and (x) the conference not proceeding as planned for any reason. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this news release and the Company assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Although the Company believes that the beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are reasonable, there can be no assurance those beliefs, plans, expectations, or intentions will prove to be accurate. Investors should consider all of the information set forth herein and should also refer to the risk factors disclosed in the Company's periodic reports filed from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission and available at www.sec.gov.

Contact Information

  • Contacts:

    Media/Corporate:
    GendeLLindheim BioCom Partners
    Barbara Lindheim
    212-918-4650

    Investors:
    Samantha Haynes
    800-539-0289
    Email Contact