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ImQuest Presentations at CROI Report Significant Advances in Therapeutic and Microbicide Product Development Programs

FREDERICK, Md., Feb. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- ImQuest Life Sciences presented important new results on the continued development of their small molecule pyrimidinedione inhibitors of HIV-1 at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections held last week in Montreal. Presentations focused on the results of IND-directed development of the HIV therapeutic IQP-0410 and the efficacy and formulation of IQP-0528 as a topical microbicide to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV. The pyrimidinediones are highly potent inhibitors of HIV, exhibiting a novel dual mechanism of action which includes targeting virus entry and reverse transcription, a highly positive safety profile, and enhanced sensitivity against multi-drug resistant viruses isolated from patients. For prevention, the lead pyrimidinedione exhibits characteristics of an ideal microbicide, including the inhibition of two early steps in the viral replication pathway as well as its lack of toxicity to the cells and normal bacterial flora of the vaginal microenvironment.

Nick Kaludov, Ph.D. (Director, Product Development) and Todd B. Parsley, Ph.D. (Director, Molecular Virology) presented data on the IQP-0410 development programs which demonstrate the potential for oral, once per day dosing of IQP-0410. The highly attractive safety profile, ability of the compound to positively interact in combination with other HIV drugs, and the high intrinsic genetic barrier to resistance of the clinical candidate, was emphasized in these presentations. ImQuest, in collaboration with their drug development partner Samjin Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd of Seoul, Korea, have recently engaged in an effort to develop more active pyrimidinediones possessing this higher genetic barrier to resistance. It is believed that these compounds will prolong the therapeutic utility of the pyrimidinediones by preventing HIV from easily evading the action of the drug and will allow ImQuest to develop even more potent HIV inhibitors following the entry of IQP-0410 to Phase 1 human clinical trials in early 2009. These studies included ImQuest coauthors Robert W. Buckheit, Jr. (Executive Vice President), Robert Buckheit, III, Christa Buckheit, and Karen M. Watson.

Karen M. Watson, M.S. (Director, Topical Microbicide Research & Development) presented critical new information regarding the ongoing development of IQP-0528 as a vaginally applied agent to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV. Ms. Watson was also an invited participant in a themed discussion entitled "Novel Microbicide Gels and Rings". ImQuest is currently working on the development of IQP-0528 as both a gel and an intravaginal ring product in combination with other highly active microbicide products. These studies included ImQuest coauthors Robert W. Buckheit, Jr., Christa Buckheit, and ImQuest collaborators from The University of Utah.

"These results further define the therapeutic and preventative niche which the pyrimidinediones may fill and their development may not only prevent the transmission of HIV among sexual partners, but may also possess important therapeutic benefits in the context of the inhibition of highly drug resistant virus strains," said Dr. Buckheit. "We are excited to see IQP-0410 enter human clinical trials in 2009."

ImQuest Life Sciences, a privately held U.S. company located in Frederick, Maryland specializes in the preclinical and clinical development of novel compounds for the treatment of infectious disease and cancer. ImQuest BioSciences, also located in Frederick, Maryland, is a leading provider of anti-infective and anti-cancer drug and vaccine development services to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry.

    For further information regarding this press release please contact:
    Robert W. Buckheit, Jr., Ph.D.
    Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer
    ImQuest Life Sciences, Inc.

SOURCE ImQuest Life Sciences, Inc.
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