Merck & Co. Presents Preclinical Data on HIV Vaccine Program Utilizing CytRx's TranzFect Technology

Apr 02, 2001, 01:00 ET from CytRx Corporation

    ATLANTA, April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- CytRx Corporation (Nasdaq:   CYTR) today
 announced that scientists from Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:   MRK) presented data
 from extensive preclinical studies in their efforts to develop an HIV-1
 vaccine, at the Keystone Symposium in Keystone, Colorado.  In November 2000,
 Merck licensed from CytRx the right to use CytRx's TranzFect technology in
 DNA-based vaccines targeted to four infectious diseases, one of which is HIV.
     Dr. John Shiver presented data Saturday evening, March 31, from studies of
 SHIV89.6P challenge in rhesus monkeys, three months following various
 vaccination regimens.  These studies have shown it possible with different
 vaccine regimens to markedly reduce the severity of SHIV infection, and
 progression to AIDS and death, using a highly virulent form of the SHIV virus.
 (SHIV is a hybrid HIV and simian immunodeficiency virus that infects non-human
 primates, and is therefore useful for research).  These vaccines induced a
 strong and specific cellular immune response, which appears to have controlled
 the degree of SHIV infection.  It is important to understand that the vaccines
 did not prevent infection with SHIV.  One of the vaccine regimens tested by
 Merck incorporated CytRx's CRL-1005 compound (TranzFect) as an adjuvant, and
 was among the most effective regimens, in terms of reducing plasma levels of
 viral RNA and of preserving levels of rhesus monkey helper T-cells (CD4+
 cells) after SHIV infection.
     Merck is conducting early (Phase I) clinical trials using novel vaccine
 technology which hopefully will lead to the development of a vaccine that can
 effectively prevent (or attenuate) the development of AIDS from HIV infection,
 as well as treat HIV infection in infected patients taking anti-retroviral
 therapy.  These studies involve the use of vaccine vectors containing the HIV-
 1 gag gene that express HIV-1 protein fragments.  The intent is to stimulate a
 strong and specific anti-HIV-1 cellular immune response.  The objectives of
 the studies are to evaluate the vaccine candidates' safety, tolerability and
 immunogenicity, which is the ability to stimulate an effective cellular immune
 response.
     R. Martin Emanuele, Ph.D., CytRx's Vice President of Research and Business
 Development, commented, "We are pleased to see that the Merck studies support
 our belief that TranzFect enhances a critical component of the immune response
 (cellular immunity) in DNA-based vaccines.  We believe these results
 demonstrate the potential utility of TranzFect in vaccines (such as for cancer
 and vaccines to control viral diseases) where the enhancement of cellular
 immunity is critically important."
 
     About CytRx Corporation
     CytRx Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the
 development and commercialization of high-value human therapeutics.  The
 Company's current research and development activities include CRL-5861, an
 intravenous agent for treatment of sickle cell disease and other acute vaso-
 occlusive disorders, and TranzFect, a delivery technology for DNA-based
 vaccines.  CytRx has a research pipeline with opportunities in the areas of
 muscular dystrophy, cancer, spinal cord injury, vaccine delivery and gene
 therapy.
     This news release may contain forward-looking statements that involve
 risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those
 discussed in this release due to, among other things, the research,
 development, and market risks which could adversely affect the Company's
 timeline for clinical trials, regulatory approval, and, if such approval is
 received, time to market thereafter. Additional uncertainties and risks are
 described in the Company's most recently filed SEC documents, such as its Form
 10-K and its most recent 10-Q.
 
     For Additional Information, Please Contact:
     With the Company:
     Mark Reynolds
     Vice President, Finance
     770-453-0121
     reynoldm@cytrx.com
 
     Broker Relations:
     Loren Brown
     Madison & Wall Worldwide, Inc.
     407-682-2001
     cytr@insidewallstreet.com
 
 

SOURCE CytRx Corporation
    ATLANTA, April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- CytRx Corporation (Nasdaq:   CYTR) today
 announced that scientists from Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:   MRK) presented data
 from extensive preclinical studies in their efforts to develop an HIV-1
 vaccine, at the Keystone Symposium in Keystone, Colorado.  In November 2000,
 Merck licensed from CytRx the right to use CytRx's TranzFect technology in
 DNA-based vaccines targeted to four infectious diseases, one of which is HIV.
     Dr. John Shiver presented data Saturday evening, March 31, from studies of
 SHIV89.6P challenge in rhesus monkeys, three months following various
 vaccination regimens.  These studies have shown it possible with different
 vaccine regimens to markedly reduce the severity of SHIV infection, and
 progression to AIDS and death, using a highly virulent form of the SHIV virus.
 (SHIV is a hybrid HIV and simian immunodeficiency virus that infects non-human
 primates, and is therefore useful for research).  These vaccines induced a
 strong and specific cellular immune response, which appears to have controlled
 the degree of SHIV infection.  It is important to understand that the vaccines
 did not prevent infection with SHIV.  One of the vaccine regimens tested by
 Merck incorporated CytRx's CRL-1005 compound (TranzFect) as an adjuvant, and
 was among the most effective regimens, in terms of reducing plasma levels of
 viral RNA and of preserving levels of rhesus monkey helper T-cells (CD4+
 cells) after SHIV infection.
     Merck is conducting early (Phase I) clinical trials using novel vaccine
 technology which hopefully will lead to the development of a vaccine that can
 effectively prevent (or attenuate) the development of AIDS from HIV infection,
 as well as treat HIV infection in infected patients taking anti-retroviral
 therapy.  These studies involve the use of vaccine vectors containing the HIV-
 1 gag gene that express HIV-1 protein fragments.  The intent is to stimulate a
 strong and specific anti-HIV-1 cellular immune response.  The objectives of
 the studies are to evaluate the vaccine candidates' safety, tolerability and
 immunogenicity, which is the ability to stimulate an effective cellular immune
 response.
     R. Martin Emanuele, Ph.D., CytRx's Vice President of Research and Business
 Development, commented, "We are pleased to see that the Merck studies support
 our belief that TranzFect enhances a critical component of the immune response
 (cellular immunity) in DNA-based vaccines.  We believe these results
 demonstrate the potential utility of TranzFect in vaccines (such as for cancer
 and vaccines to control viral diseases) where the enhancement of cellular
 immunity is critically important."
 
     About CytRx Corporation
     CytRx Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the
 development and commercialization of high-value human therapeutics.  The
 Company's current research and development activities include CRL-5861, an
 intravenous agent for treatment of sickle cell disease and other acute vaso-
 occlusive disorders, and TranzFect, a delivery technology for DNA-based
 vaccines.  CytRx has a research pipeline with opportunities in the areas of
 muscular dystrophy, cancer, spinal cord injury, vaccine delivery and gene
 therapy.
     This news release may contain forward-looking statements that involve
 risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those
 discussed in this release due to, among other things, the research,
 development, and market risks which could adversely affect the Company's
 timeline for clinical trials, regulatory approval, and, if such approval is
 received, time to market thereafter. Additional uncertainties and risks are
 described in the Company's most recently filed SEC documents, such as its Form
 10-K and its most recent 10-Q.
 
     For Additional Information, Please Contact:
     With the Company:
     Mark Reynolds
     Vice President, Finance
     770-453-0121
     reynoldm@cytrx.com
 
     Broker Relations:
     Loren Brown
     Madison & Wall Worldwide, Inc.
     407-682-2001
     cytr@insidewallstreet.com
 
 SOURCE  CytRx Corporation

RELATED LINKS

http://www.merck.com