WEX Pharmaceuticals Inc.
TSX : WXI

WEX Pharmaceuticals Inc.

June 29, 2005 00:04 ET

WEX Pharmaceuticals Inc.: Patent No. ZL95190556.2

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - June 29, 2005) - WEX Pharmaceuticals Inc. ("WEX" or the "Company") (TSX:WXI) announced that it has been notified that based on a court ruling (the "Ruling") the Chinese Patent Office ("CPO") has changed registered ownership of the drug withdrawal Patent No. ZL95190556.2 "Use of Amino Quinazoline Hydride Compound and its Derivative for Abstaining from Drug Dependence" in China from the Company's subsidiary, Nanning Maple Leaf Pharmaceuticals ("NMLP") to one of the two inventors and a third party who alleges to have been an employer of the other inventor.

The patent was granted in China on January 22, 2000. Before granting, two inventors assigned their interest in the invention covered by the patent to NMLP. Subsequently the alleged former employer of one of the inventors claimed its employee did not have the rights to assign the invention to NMLP and that the patent belonged to it. WEX filed an appeal of the Ruling earlier this year and the Court subsequently dismissed the appeal. The Company disagrees with the Ruling and considers that the prior assignment of interest to NMLP in the invention was valid and therefore that WEX has at least part-ownership rights to the patent. Even though the Company is currently investigating other legal and business options, until the ownership of the patent is resolved and as a result of financial and other considerations, the Company has decided to temporarily postpone development and testing of its opiate addiction withdrawal drug in China. However, the Company recognizes its intellectual property leadership in this area and will continue to file new patents in the area of drug withdrawal to strengthen its patent position.

"I attach great significance to patents and the protection of industrial secrets for our technologies, products and processes and I am disappointed with the current Ruling", said Frank Shum, President and CEO. "We will continue to strengthen our patent portfolio around our products by adding to the 82 existing patent or patent applications we have filed in commercially significant areas. As a result of progress in research activities, the Company is planning to file several new patent applications before the end of the year".

This development does not affect other tetrodotoxin related therapeutic indications or other research projects and the Company will continue to focus financial and operational resources on the development of Tectin™ for the treatment of moderate to severe cancer related pain through clinical development in North America, China and Europe.

About WEX Pharmaceuticals Inc.

WEX Pharmaceuticals Inc. is dedicated to the discovery, development, manufacture and commercialization of innovative drug products to treat moderate to severe acute and chronic pain, symptom pain relief associated with addiction withdrawal from opioid abuse and medicines designed for local anaesthesia. The Company's principal business strategy is to derive drugs from naturally occurring toxins and develop proprietary products for the Global market. The Company's Chinese subsidiary sells generic products manufactured at its facility in China.

Forward Looking Statements

This News Release contains forward-looking statements which may not be based on historical fact, including without limitation statements. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, events or developments to be materially different from any future results, events or developments expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These factors should be considered carefully and readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. The company disclaims any obligation to update any such factors or to publicly announce the result of any revisions to any of the forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect future results, events or developments.

Contact Information

  • WEX Pharmaceuticals Inc.
    Don Evans
    604-683-8880 or 1-800-722-7549
    604-683-8868 (FAX)
    or
    WEX Pharmaceuticals Inc.
    Gordon Stanley
    Corporate Communications
    604-683-8880 or 1-800-722-7549
    604-683-8868 (FAX)
    wex@wexpharma.com
    www.wexpharma.com