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ExonHit Completes a Prototype to Detect Alzheimer's Disease From Blood

PARIS, November 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- ExonHit Therapeutics, a drug and diagnostic discovery company, has completed a prototype of the first blood-based Alzheimer's disease test. The company expects to have this test certified and to provide it as a service in its GLP (Good Laboratory Practices) compliant laboratories to the pharmaceutical industry as early as 2009.

This initial ExonHit test aims to identify patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease from a simple blood sample. Further developments are underway to assess if it is feasible to identify, at an early stage, patients suffering from MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment) who are at risk to develop Alzheimer-type dementia.

The performances of this test have been improved since March 2007, where it now detects the presence of Alzheimer's disease in patients presenting with cognitive disorders, as determined by a MMSE (Mini Mental State Examination) score < 20 and a GDS (Global Deterioration Scale) score greater than or equal to 4. Importantly, the test has a specificity and a sensitivity of greater than 95% for AD, calculated from a sample of 174 patients. As well as providing doctors with a simple measure of the illness, the test's performances are by far superior to current standards.

This test is based on hybridising nucleic acids (RNA), isolated from a blood sample, on a custom microarray produced by Affymetrix which contains sequences identified using ExonHit's patented human genome screening technology. The blood test can distinguish patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease from those suffering from bipolar disorders, schizophrenia or depression. The identified sequences (or "signature") were found to be typical in the blood of patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease can be grouped and are representative of alterations of well known metabolic functions.

"Considering our biological signature's properties, we are confident that the test will also be able to screen out patients suffering from other dementias such as frontal lobe dementias, Lewy body dementias or vascular dementias. This will be validated in mid-2008, after we have compared our signature to the clinical diagnostic criterias for these dementias" declared Laurent Bracco, Executive Vice President for Research at ExonHit Therapeutics.

"We are making good progress towards having our first diagnostic certified. We will be able to provide it as a service in Europe and in the USA, to companies interested in recruiting patients with a specific blood signature, as well as meeting the current recruitment criteria" stated Bruno Tocque, President of the Management Board of ExonHit. He added "There are approximately 140 clinical trials ongoing in Alzheimer's disease. This is an ideal market for ExonHit".

About ExonHit Therapeutics

ExonHit Therapeutics is the world's leader in the analysis of alternative RNA splicing, a process which when deregulated plays a key role in the onset of various diseases.

ExonHit has a multi-component commercial strategy to capture the maximum value from its leadership in alternative splicing. The Company is already generating revenues from a new generation of microarrays, SpliceArray(TM) family of products that enable life science researchers to detect crucial disease-associated information. These products are marketed worldwide in conjunction with Agilent and Affymetrix. In the field of diagnostics, ExonHit has a major collaboration with bioMerieux to develop completely novel predictive blood-based cancer diagnostics, which could play a key role in improving the treatment of breast cancer and other major cancers and develops its own projects for the detection of other chronic diseases such as Alzheimer's disease or atherosclerosis.

In parallel, ExonHit is developing its own therapeutic pipeline in the field of neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. The Company has advanced drug candidates into clinical trials and is evaluating several promising pre-clinical compounds. ExonHit also has a strategic partnership with Allergan, to discover and develop new therapeutics in the areas of pain, neurological diseases and ophthalmology. This collaboration provides on-going research funding to ExonHit.

Founded in 1997, ExonHit is headquartered in Paris, France and has a U.S. facility in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The Company is listed on Alternext of Euronext Paris (ticker: ALEHT; ISIN: FR0004054427) since November 17, 2005.

This press release includes only summary information and does not purport to be comprehensive. The projections, forecast and estimates of ExonHit Therapeutics which may be contained herein are for illustrative purposes only and are based on management's current views and assumptions. Such projections, forecast and estimates involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, as described at Section 4.2 "Facteurs de risque" (Risk Factors) of the Document de Base available on ExonHit Therapeutics' website (, that may cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those anticipated in the summary information.

In addition, ExonHit Therapeutics, its shareholders, and its affiliates, directors, officers, advisors and employees have not verified the accuracy of, and make no representations or warranties in relation to, statistical data or predictions contained in this press release that were taken or derived from third party sources or industry publications, and such statistical data and predictions are used in this press release for information purposes only.

Finally, this press release may be drafted in the French and English languages. In an event of differences between the texts, the French language version shall prevail.


ExonHit Therapeutics

Bruno Tocque, C.E.O.

Tel: +33-1-58-05-47-00

Philippe Rousseau, C.F.O.

SOURCE ExonHit Therapeutics SA
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