Idun Acquires SMAC, a Key Apoptosis Regulating Gene

- Novel Regulatory Gene Added to Idun's Intellectual Property Portfolio

Encompassing the Core Apoptosis Pathway in Humans -



Apr 25, 2001, 01:00 ET from Idun Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

    SAN DIEGO, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Idun Pharmaceuticals, a
 biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of drugs targeting
 apoptosis, today announced a key licensing agreement with The University of
 Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas (UT Southwestern).  This agreement
 gives Idun the exclusive rights to the Second Mitochondria-derived Activator
 of Caspase (SMAC) gene, which is known to be involved in the initiation of
 apoptosis.
     Apoptosis is the biological process by which cells undergo genetically
 programmed death in response to a disease or as part of the aging process.
 Modulation of this pathway by drugs is likely to form the basis for treatments
 of a wide range of diseases including cancer, stroke and cardiovascular
 diseases.  The SMAC gene encodes a protein known to play a critical role in
 the initiation of apoptosis.  The gene was identified by Dr. Xiaodong Wang,
 Assistant Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Professor in
 the Department of Biochemistry at UT Southwestern, and his colleagues at UT
 Southwestern.  Dr. Wang's characterization of SMAC showed that it stimulates
 Apaf-1 mediated activation of caspase 9, which in turn initiates the process
 of apoptosis and leads to cell death.
     "This is a novel regulatory protein in the apoptosis pathway that works by
 promoting Apaf-1 and procaspase-9 activity," said Dr. Hua Zou, Senior Research
 Scientist, Idun Pharmaceuticals.  "SMAC does not resemble any protein with
 known function and represents a novel protein in apoptosis in mammalian cells.
 It is another important piece to the apoptosis regulation puzzle and a further
 understanding of its role can help to understand apoptosis and develop drugs
 with therapeutic benefit that intervene in the cell death process."
     "This agreement provides Idun with the exclusive access to an important
 component of the human apoptosis pathway," said Dr. Kevin Tomaselli, Vice
 President of Discovery Research at Idun Pharmaceuticals.  "SMAC is a central
 regulator of apoptosis in human cells through its ability to regulate the
 activation of caspases, a unique class of proteases that are involved in
 apoptosis."
     "SMAC is an important component in the core apoptosis pathway and this
 license helps maintain Idun's preeminent position in this field," stated
 Dr. Steven Mento, President and CEO of Idun Pharmaceuticals.  "It complements
 Idun's existing caspase patent portfolio and brings the number of issued and
 pending patents to 72 and 205, respectively, which collectively encompass 24
 genes involved in apoptosis."
 
     Idun Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company based in
 San Diego, CA.  It creates innovative human therapeutics with a primary focus
 on controlling apoptosis, or programmed cell death.  Idun believes that
 controlling the cell death process will have utility in treating cancer,
 neurodegenerative diseases, ischemic disorders and cardiovascular disease.
 The company has adopted a commercialization strategy encompassing strategic
 collaborations with major pharmaceutical companies, internal, independent
 development of selected small molecule therapeutics, and out-licensing of
 diagnostics, gene therapies, and bioproduction technologies.  Idun has a broad
 patent portfolio covering the fundamental and core technologies involved in
 the regulation of cell death and has established partnerships with Abbott
 Laboratories in cancer, with Elan Corporation, plc in stroke, and Becton
 Dickinson and Company in research reagents.
 
      Contact:
 
      Idun Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
      Steven J. Mento, Ph.D.
      President and CEO
      (858) 623-1330
      http://www.idun.com
 
      Noonan/Russo Communications, Inc.
      Andi Wakayama
      (415) 677-4455 x 211
      http://www.noonanrusso.com
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X28267656
 
 

SOURCE Idun Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
    SAN DIEGO, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Idun Pharmaceuticals, a
 biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of drugs targeting
 apoptosis, today announced a key licensing agreement with The University of
 Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas (UT Southwestern).  This agreement
 gives Idun the exclusive rights to the Second Mitochondria-derived Activator
 of Caspase (SMAC) gene, which is known to be involved in the initiation of
 apoptosis.
     Apoptosis is the biological process by which cells undergo genetically
 programmed death in response to a disease or as part of the aging process.
 Modulation of this pathway by drugs is likely to form the basis for treatments
 of a wide range of diseases including cancer, stroke and cardiovascular
 diseases.  The SMAC gene encodes a protein known to play a critical role in
 the initiation of apoptosis.  The gene was identified by Dr. Xiaodong Wang,
 Assistant Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Professor in
 the Department of Biochemistry at UT Southwestern, and his colleagues at UT
 Southwestern.  Dr. Wang's characterization of SMAC showed that it stimulates
 Apaf-1 mediated activation of caspase 9, which in turn initiates the process
 of apoptosis and leads to cell death.
     "This is a novel regulatory protein in the apoptosis pathway that works by
 promoting Apaf-1 and procaspase-9 activity," said Dr. Hua Zou, Senior Research
 Scientist, Idun Pharmaceuticals.  "SMAC does not resemble any protein with
 known function and represents a novel protein in apoptosis in mammalian cells.
 It is another important piece to the apoptosis regulation puzzle and a further
 understanding of its role can help to understand apoptosis and develop drugs
 with therapeutic benefit that intervene in the cell death process."
     "This agreement provides Idun with the exclusive access to an important
 component of the human apoptosis pathway," said Dr. Kevin Tomaselli, Vice
 President of Discovery Research at Idun Pharmaceuticals.  "SMAC is a central
 regulator of apoptosis in human cells through its ability to regulate the
 activation of caspases, a unique class of proteases that are involved in
 apoptosis."
     "SMAC is an important component in the core apoptosis pathway and this
 license helps maintain Idun's preeminent position in this field," stated
 Dr. Steven Mento, President and CEO of Idun Pharmaceuticals.  "It complements
 Idun's existing caspase patent portfolio and brings the number of issued and
 pending patents to 72 and 205, respectively, which collectively encompass 24
 genes involved in apoptosis."
 
     Idun Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company based in
 San Diego, CA.  It creates innovative human therapeutics with a primary focus
 on controlling apoptosis, or programmed cell death.  Idun believes that
 controlling the cell death process will have utility in treating cancer,
 neurodegenerative diseases, ischemic disorders and cardiovascular disease.
 The company has adopted a commercialization strategy encompassing strategic
 collaborations with major pharmaceutical companies, internal, independent
 development of selected small molecule therapeutics, and out-licensing of
 diagnostics, gene therapies, and bioproduction technologies.  Idun has a broad
 patent portfolio covering the fundamental and core technologies involved in
 the regulation of cell death and has established partnerships with Abbott
 Laboratories in cancer, with Elan Corporation, plc in stroke, and Becton
 Dickinson and Company in research reagents.
 
      Contact:
 
      Idun Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
      Steven J. Mento, Ph.D.
      President and CEO
      (858) 623-1330
      http://www.idun.com
 
      Noonan/Russo Communications, Inc.
      Andi Wakayama
      (415) 677-4455 x 211
      http://www.noonanrusso.com
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X28267656
 
 SOURCE  Idun Pharmaceuticals, Inc.