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Epistem plc and AstraZeneca Complete Plucked Hair Biomarker Study for Oncology Drug Development
Date:2/5/2008

to identify new biomarkers that could accelerate the delivery of new clinical treatments and medicines for prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of disease.

Epistem and AstraZeneca plan to explore hair follicle core gene sets based on drug-induced gene expression in pathways of interest for specific therapeutics. Identified gene expression changes in the hair follicle will be linked to changes in tumours to determine drug exposure, toxicity and dose response leading to patient selection.

Matthew Walls, CEO, Epistem stated: "We are excited at the initial results that our companies have made in developing an RNA based biomarker for drug development. AstraZeneca was the first of the top tier pharmaceutical companies to begin feasibility studies for the use of our hair biomarker platform and the successful completion of these studies bodes well for the proposed next steps in our joint development collaboration."

Professor Andrew Hughes, Clinical Director of Discovery Medicine, AstraZeneca commented "Epistem are clearly at the forefront of understanding gene expression profiling in plucked human hair and its utility to drug development. Our published results clearly demonstrate that the method is both feasible and practical; and offers the promise of providing insights into both dose and patient selection."

Additional Information

Epistem is a biotechnology company commercialising its expertise in epithelial stem cells in the areas of oncology, gastrointestinal diseases and dermatological applications. Epistem develops innovative therapeutics and biomarkers and provides contract research services to drug development companies. The Group's expertise is focused on the regulation of adult stem cells located in epithelial tissue, which includes the gastrointestinal tract, skin, hair follicles, breast and prostate. Epistem does not conduct research in the areas of embryonic stem cells or stem cell transplantation.

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