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Biopharmaceuticals Oncology FDA

 News Release - February 22, 2008

Adherex Receives Orphan Drug Designation for ADH-1 in Melanoma

Additional centers to be added to ongoing Phase I/IIb trial

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NORTH CAROLINA--(Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network)--Feb 22, 2008 -- Adherex Technologies Inc. (Toronto:AHX.TO )(AMEX:ADH ), a biopharmaceutical company with a broad portfolio of oncology products under development, today announced that it has received orphan drug designation for ADH-1 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The designation was granted for the use of ADH-1 in conjunction with melphalan for the treatment of Stage IIB/C, III, and IV malignant melanoma. Adherex is currently conducting a Phase IIb expansion trial in melanoma using systemic ADH-1 in combination with regional melphalan.

"FDA orphan drug designation for ADH-1 is an important asset in Adherex's development of this drug," said Dr. William P. Peters, CEO and Chairman of Adherex. "Orphan drug designation provides multiple incentives for Adherex to continue its accelerated development of ADH-1 for this significant clinical problem. Melanoma is a disease with an extremely poor prognosis and one in which the molecular target for ADH-1, N-cadherin, is frequently and often intensively expressed. N-cadherin is also intimately involved in the invasion and metastasis of melanoma. Our experience to date combining ADH-1 and melphalan for the treatment of in-transit melanoma has been very encouraging. To continue with the rapid development of this combination, two additional centers, Lehigh Valley and H. Lee Moffitt, have joined our Phase IIb trial which is ongoing at Duke and the MD Anderson. All four participating institutions are first-class medical centers with experienced investigators, and we are very pleased to have them involved in this development program."

The FDA orphan drug designation, administered by the Office of Orphan Products Development, provides potential incentives such as funding for clinical studies, study design assistance, waiver of FDA user fees, tax credits and, importantly, up to seven years of market exclusivity upon marketing approval.

Adherex is currently evaluating the synergy of systemic ADH-1 in combination with regionally-infused melphalan for the treatment of melanoma in a Phase I/IIb trial. The Lehigh Valley Hospital in Pennsylvania and the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida are being added as additional clinical trial sites to provide further multi-institutional experience. The Phase IIb portion of this trial is anticipated to complete patient accrual by approximately mid-2008, with data to be released at an appropriate scientific venue.

Another Phase I trial is also nearing completion at US Oncology in which systemic ADH-1 is being evaluated in combination with three different systemic chemotherapies: ADH-1 + docetaxel (TaxotereŽ), ADH-1 + carboplatin, and ADH-1 + Capecitabine (XelodaŽ). Subsequent Phase II and potential randomized, prospective trials of ADH-1 in combination with chemotherapy will be planned and based upon the results of the combination studies currently ongoing.

About Adherex Technologies

Adherex Technologies Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel cancer therapeutics. We aim to be a leader in developing innovative treatments that address important unmet medical needs in cancer. We currently have multiple products in the clinical stage of development, including eniluracil, ADH-1 and sodium thiosulfate (STS). Eniluracil, an oral dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) inhibitor, was previously under development by GlaxoSmithKline for oncology indications. ADH-1, our lead biotechnology compound, selectively targets N-cadherin, a protein present on certain tumor cells and established blood vessels that feed solid tumors. STS, a drug from our specialty pharmaceuticals pipeline, protects against the disabling hearing loss that can often result from treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy drugs. With a diversified portfolio of unique preclinical and clinical-stage cancer compounds and a management team with expertise in identifying, developing and commercializing novel cancer therapeutics, Adherex is emerging as a pioneering oncology company. For more information, please visit our website at

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve significant risks and uncertainties. The actual results, performance or achievements of the Company might differ materially from the results, performance or achievements of the Company expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements include, without limitation, those regarding the development plans of the Company and the expected results of our development. We can provide no assurance that such development will proceed as currently anticipated or that the expected results of such development will be realized. We are subject to various risks, including the uncertainties of clinical trials, drug development and regulatory review, the early stage of our product candidates, our reliance on collaborative partners, our need for additional capital to fund our operations, our history of losses, and other risks inherent to the biopharmaceutical industry. For a more detailed discussion of related risk factors, please refer to our public filings available at and

Source: Adherex Technologies

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