Edison Pharma and Institute of Vision Enter Into Collaboration

Development of Therapeutics Targeting Mitochondrial Eye Disease

Oct 02, 2006, 01:00 ET from Edison Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

    SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Edison Pharmaceuticals
 announced today that it has entered into collaboration with the Institute
 of Vision, Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, for the development of
 drugs targeting Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON). LHON is an
 inherited disease affecting vision, whose onset is sudden, without warning,
 and results in blindness. There are no treatments.
     LHON arises from impairments in energy production in the eye. It is
 caused by genetic defects in the mitochondria -- the cellular structure
 responsible for energy generation. While in relative terms a rare disease,
 a renewed interest in LHON has been sparked by both the emergence of
 potential mitochondrial therapies and LHON's relationship to more common
 retinal diseases that may share similar biochemical mechanisms.
     Edison is teaming with the Institute of Vision and its LHON
 international consortium of researchers and clinicians to enable evaluation
 of Edison's drugs that target inherited mitochondrial diseases. Founded in
 2001, this consortium is represented by over 37 members worldwide, and has
 authored benchmark clinical and scientific papers on LHON.
     The Institute of Vision and its LHON consortium scientists have been
 working to understand LHON, its cause and progression to enable the
 development of new treatments. "Given our access to an extensive pedigree
 of patients with LHON residing in Brazil, the Institute of Vision has
 served as a center for LHON investigations," stated Dr. Rubens Belfort Jr.,
 Professor and President of the Institute of Vision. "Our goal is to expand
 our knowledge of LHON, thereby developing new diagnostic tests and drugs
 for LHON and related mitochondrial diseases of the eye."
     "The Doheny Eye Institute at the University of Southern California is a
 founding and participating member of the LHON consortium," stated Alfredo
 Sadun, MD, PhD, Professor of Ophthalmology, Doheny Eye Institute. "Having
 laid the groundwork over the last five years in aggregating and evaluating
 this unique patient population, we are enthusiastic about applying this
 knowledge to the development of mitochondrial drugs."
     Today there are no treatments for LHON, however with an increased
 understanding of mitochondrial disease, new potential therapies are
 emerging. Through its internal discovery efforts and through collaboration
 with Columbia University, University of Southern California Doheny Eye
 Institute and the University of Bologna, Edison is evaluating new classes
 of potential drugs for mitochondrial diseases that affect the eye.
     "Edison has been working with several members of the LHON international
 consortium for over a year, and is extending its ophthalmologic program to
 the Institute of Vision in Brazil," stated Guy Miller, CEO, Edison. "As
 many mitochondrial diseases, including LHON, have significant visual
 disturbances associated with them, we see this effort has having broad
 therapeutic applications for drugs under development at Edison."
     About Edison Pharmaceuticals
     Edison Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is focused on the development of drugs to
 treat inherited respiratory chain diseases of the mitochondria -- also
 referred to as energy impairment diseases. The company has received Orphan
 Designation status by the Food & Drug Administration for EPI-A0001 for
 inherited respiratory chain diseases and is advancing this candidate into
 clinical development. Edison Pharma possesses a specialized working
 knowledge in redox pharmacology and translational biology pertaining to
 bioenergetics and disease. The company's business is focused on orphan
 products, which treat diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 individuals
 in the US. Edison has obtained substantial non-dilutive peer-reviewed
 support to advance both its pre-clinical and clinical initiatives from
 foundations and government organizations including the Friedreich's Ataxia
 Research Alliance, the National Institutes of Health Rapid Access to
 Interventional Development (RAID) Pilot Program, Cure Huntington's Disease
 Initiative, Inc., Muscular Dystrophy Association, Seek A Miracle/MDA and
 the City of San Jose, CA.

SOURCE Edison Pharmaceuticals, Inc.