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Palkion Selects Novel Oral Development Candidate for the Treatment of Anemia

SAN DIEGO, June 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Palkion, Inc. announced today that it has initiated preclinical development studies for its orally available anemia therapeutic candidate that modulates the Hypoxia-Inducible Factor Prolyl Hydroxylase (HIF-PH) enzyme system. In February 2008, Palkion was founded when a novel drug discovery and development firm, CrystalGenomics (KOSDAQ: CRYSTAL [A083790]) and a leading US-based venture capital firm, ProQuest Investments, formed a new joint venture entity.

Under this strategic alliance, CrystalGenomics is receiving upfront and research funding for 2 years from Palkion, in addition to development and sales milestone payments of potentially more than US$200 million. CrystalGenomics' role is to use its unique structure-based drug discovery platform to identify novel drug candidates while Palkion oversees the clinical development.

Since the start of this agreement, CrystalGenomics has placed a high priority on this project leading to faster delivery of preclinical candidates than originally expected. Palkion and CrystalGenomics anticipate the initiation of safety and efficacy clinical studies in 2010. There is a high level of enthusiasm as Palkion's candidates have demonstrated benefits and features in terms of efficacy at this early stage of development. In preparation of expedited preclinical development, Palkion has been assembling a team of clinical, regulatory and commercial experts from the pharmaceutical industry.

There is a great market opportunity for anemia therapeutics as IMS Health reported that Erythropoietins such as Aranesp(R), Epogen(R), and Procrit(R), ranked as the #5 top-selling therapeutic classes in the U.S. for 2006 with total sales of US$10 billion. However, since all of these currently available Erythropoietins are injectables, an oral agent, as being developed by Palkion, could be very appealing from both a commercial and clinical perspective as an orally bioavailable agent might expand usage and improve patient compliance as well.

"This sooner than expected start of preclinical development studies is an affirmation of CrystalGenomics' capability to discover novel drug candidates in an efficient way and through shared responsibilities with Palkion, we will accelerate our drug development process and establish CG as a global-scale pharmaceutical firm," stated Dr. Joong-Myung Cho, President and CEO of CrystalGenomics.

"Excellent progress has been made in our collaboration with CrystalGenomics. We have now assembled an outstanding team to progress our lead candidate toward the clinic," stated Wendy Johnson, President and CEO of Palkion.

About Palkion: Palkion, Inc. is a private early stage company developing oral drugs to treat anemia based on discovery and development of oral agents that inhibit prolyl hydroxylase enzymes. The inhibition of these enzymes results in endogenous production of erythropoietin, leading to the production of red blood cells. The use of an oral agent provides convenience and dosing flexibility potentially reaching more patients than the current injectable products. The company was formed by ProQuest Investments and CrystalGenomics, Inc. in February 2008.

About CrystalGenomics: CrystalGenomics, Inc. is a novel drug discovery and development company with several developmental candidates in the areas of cancer, inflammation and novel antibiotics. The lead candidate, CG100649 is a next generation NSAID with high safety and efficacy, which recently completed phase IIa of 248 patients for osteoarthritis in Europe. CG200745 is an oral/IV HDAC inhibitor for cancer and CG400549 is a novel antibiotic against MRSA and VRSA, both of which are in pre-clinical studies in Europe. The company has competitive and proprietary platform technologies for structural biology, structure-based novel scaffold/lead design, lead optimization and candidate selection with ADMET capability. CrystalGenomics is headquartered in Seoul, Korea and its subsidiary, CG Pharmaceuticals Inc. is located in Emeryville, CA for US and EU clinical management. The company has several strategic alliances with pharma/biotech companies including, Daiichi-Sankyo, Carna Biosciences, OncoTherapy Sciences, SBI-Biotech, YuYu Pharma, AmorePacific and Palkion with ProQuest. CrystalGenomics is publicly-held with a listing on the KOSDAQ. For more information on CrystalGenomics, please visit our website at


This press release may contain certain "forward-looking statements" regarding the collaboration between Palkion and CrystalGenomics, Inc. These statements are based on the Parties' current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties, which may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements. The forward-looking statements may include statements regarding product development, collaboration potential or financial performance. None of the forward-looking statements are guaranteed, and actual results may differ materially from those projected. The Parties may choose to update this notice in the future, based on new information, future events, or otherwise, but undertakes no obligation to do so. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect the Parties business, including, but not limited to, the health of the global life sciences industry, the growth of the outsourcing business model and the ability of the Parties to derive value from successful collaborations.

SOURCE Palkion, Inc.
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