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Leading Heart Specialist Joins Duska Therapeutics as Scientific Consultant

Dr. Jonathan Stamler Has Authored A New Understanding Of Heart Failure

LA JOLLA, Calif., Oct. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Duska Therapeutics, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: DSKA) ("Duska") announced today that Jonathan S. Stamler, M.D., has joined the company as an exclusive scientific consultant to advise on the clinical development of CDP-1050, a drug candidate for the treatment of heart failure.

Dr. Stamler is the George Barth Geller Professor of Research in Cardiovascular Diseases and Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at Duke University. He has conducted scientific studies that establish a ubiquitous role for nitric oxide in the regulation of protein function. Dr. Stamler's research supports the hypothesis that dysregulated nitric oxide signaling commonly contributes to human disease including heart failure, arrhythmia, respiratory diseases, and cancer.

Dr. Stamler's notable achievements include the discovery that nitric oxide is transported by hemoglobin in red blood cells and has a pivotal role in control of blood flow; the mechanism by which nitroglycerin alleviates chest pain in angina patients and the cause of nitrate tolerance in these same patients; and the finding that depletion of nitric oxide from stored red blood cells may be the underlying cause for the undesired outcomes arising from blood transfusions such as higher incidence of heart attack, heart failure, stroke and even death. He has also discovered a general mechanism by which protein function is regulated (termed S-nitrosylation), malfunction of which contributes to many human diseases.

Dr. Stamler has conducted research on nitric oxide-redox imbalance in the failing heart and cardiovascular system. This research has yielded key evidence that altered production and distribution of reactive oxygen and nitric oxide species damages the cardiovascular system and contributes to the poor pumping capacity that characterizes the failing heart.

Although not fully appreciated until recently, researchers now know that one of the major ways in which nitric oxide influences heart function is by activating the main calcium channel in the heart to release calcium from intracellular stores. Calcium is the primary determinant of contractility in the heart. A deficiency in nitric oxide disrupts the calcium cycle, inhibits heart contractility, and ultimately causes the heart to fail.

In addition to helping to elucidate a biologic basis of heart failure, Dr. Stamler has developed and tested new therapeutic modalities to preserve and improve cardiac function. He is one of the inventors of the patents underlying the drug portfolio that includes CDP-1050, which Duska recently licensed from Duke University and Johns Hopkins University.

CDP-1050 is an investigational drug candidate for the treatment of heart failure. The drug is designed to correct nitric oxide and redox imbalance in the failing heart and the cardiovascular system. CDP-1050 has a dual mechanism of action to inhibit the creation of excessive reactive oxygen radicals and restore nitric oxide to physiologic levels. The principal therapeutic target is the ryanodine receptor, the main ion channel in the heart that supplies the calcium necessary for the heart to contract. CDP-1050 is expected to enter a Phase 2 clinical study early next year.

"With its strong scientific underpinnings and commercial orientation, the Duska team is the perfect group to organize and manage the CDP-1050 Phase 2 proof-of-concept study in heart failure patients," Dr. Stamler commented. "CDP-1050 is pioneering a new paradigm of heart failure treatments by directly repairing molecular damage to the heart, the root cause of heart failure."

"Dr. Stamler has developed proprietary investigational drugs for heart failure based on his comprehensive and profound understanding of the signal transduction defects underlying the disease. We believe that his formal involvement with Duska provides us with a tremendous strategic advantage in developing novel drugs for heart failure," said James S. Kuo, M.D., M.B.A., Duska's Chairman and CEO.

About Heart Failure

Heart failure, a condition characterized by the inability of the heart to effectively pump blood as well as by fluid accumulation in the lungs and other tissues, is suffered by an estimated five million Americans and is responsible for 300,000 deaths in the U.S. annually, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. It is the single largest Medicare expense, at a cost of $33.2 billion each year. The five-year mortality rate with heart failure can be as high as 50 percent.

About Duska Therapeutics

Duska Therapeutics, Inc. (Duska) is a specialty pharmaceutical company that develops new cardiovascular medicines based upon the emerging new pharmacology of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and nitric oxide (NO). These two molecules play critical roles in cellular metabolism and signal transduction, the manipulation of which by several pharmaceuticals constitute novel therapeutic modalities for the treatment of major cardiovascular disorders. Duska is developing a portfolio of investigational medicines, two of which are in late stages of clinical testing. Duska's ATPace is expected to enter a pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial for the treatment of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. Duska's CDP-1050 is expected to commence a Phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of heart failure. In addition, Duska has a preclinical program to develop new chemical entities that target a newly discovered pathway in the pathophysiology of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. For more information, visit

Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from the events or results described in the forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, estimates and projections made by management. Duska intends for the forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions for forward-looking statements. Words such as "anticipates," "expects," "intends," "plans," "believes," "seeks," "estimates," or variations of such words are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. All statements in this release regarding the future outlook related to Duska are forward-looking statements, including the statements that Duska's ATPace is expected to enter a pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial, Duska's CDP-1050 is expected to commence a Phase 2 clinical trial, the laboratory research will be translated into a new treatment for ill heart failure patients and that the involvement of Dr. Stamler with Duska will provide us with tremendous strategic advantages. The forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth or implied by any forward-looking statements. Such risks include the risk that the clinical trial for approval of ATPace and the Phase 2 clinical trial for our CDP-1050 may not be successful, the licensed portfolio may not lead to the expected results including that our drugs may not improve the efficiency of heart contractility, the NDA may be rejected the involvement of Dr. Stamler will not lead to expected results and we may never successfully commercialize ATPace or any heart failure compounds. Additional uncertainties and risks are described in Duska's most recently filed SEC documents, such as its most recent annual report on Form 10-KSB, all quarterly reports on Form 10-QSB and any current reports on Form 8-K filed since the date of the last Form 10-KSB. Copies of these filings are available through the SEC website at All forward-looking statements are based upon information available to Duska on the date hereof. Duska undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, other than as required by law.

SOURCE Duska Therapeutics, Inc.
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