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Soligenix Announces Grant of Broad European Patent for Topically Active Steroids to Treat Inflammatory Gastrointestinal Disorders

PRINCETON, N.J., May 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Soligenix, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: SNGX) (Soligenix or the Company), a late-stage biotechnology company, announced today that the European Patent Office granted patent EP 1392321 "Method of Treating Inflammatory Disorders of the Gastrointestinal Tract using Topically Active Corticosteroids."  The new patent's main claims cover the use of topically active corticosteroids in orally administered dosage forms that act concurrently in the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract. These dosage forms include orBec®, an oral formulation of beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP), a topically active corticosteroid, currently in a confirmatory Phase 3 clinical trial for the treatment of acute gastrointestinal Graft-versus-Host disease (GI GVHD), an inflammatory condition arising from hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.  

"The granting of the European patent strengthens our intellectual property portfolio in the field of topically active steroids.  It demonstrates the novelty and utility of our approach to treating inflammatory GI diseases, such as GI GVHD with our two-pill system comprising an immediate- release and a delayed-release combination of oral BDP," said Christopher J. Schaber, PhD, President and CEO of Soligenix.  "This is the first European patent in our portfolio that addresses topically active formulations of corticosteroids, and we expect additional patents will be granted in the near future.  We believe that our oral BDP formulations may also have utility in other inflammatory GI diseases, such as radiation enteritis, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease."

In addition to issued patents and pending worldwide patent applications held by or exclusively licensed to Soligenix, orBec® also benefits from orphan drug designations in the US and in Europe for the treatment of GI GVHD, which provide for seven and 10 years of post-approval market exclusivity, respectively.

About Oral BDP

Beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP) is a highly potent, topically active corticosteroid that has a local effect on inflamed tissue. BDP has been marketed in the US and worldwide since the early 1970s as the active pharmaceutical ingredient in a nasal spray and in a metered-dose inhaler for the treatment of patients with allergic rhinitis and asthma. BDP is the active ingredient in orBec®, currently in Phase 3 and Phase 2 development by Soligenix for the treatment and prevention of acute GVHD, respectively. BDP is also the active ingredient in SGX201, a time-release formulation in a Phase 1/2 trial for acute radiation enteritis.

About orBec®

orBec® represents a first-of-its-kind oral, locally acting therapy tailored to treat the gastrointestinal manifestation of GVHD, the organ system where GVHD is most frequently encountered and highly problematic. orBec® is intended to reduce the need for systemic immunosuppressive drugs to treat GI GVHD.   orBec® is formulated for oral administration in GI GVHD patients as a single product consisting of two tablets; one tablet is intended to release BDP in the proximal portions of the GI tract, and the other tablet is intended to release BDP in the distal portions of the GI tract.

About Soligenix, Inc.

Soligenix, Inc. (Soligenix) is a late-stage biopharmaceutical company developing products to treat life-threatening side effects of cancer treatments and serious gastrointestinal diseases, and vaccines for certain bioterrorism agents. Soligenix's lead product, orBec® (oral beclomethasone dipropionate or BDP), is a potent, locally acting corticosteroid being developed for the treatment of acute gastrointestinal Graft-versus-Host-Disease (GI GVHD), a common and potentially life-threatening complication of hematopoietic cell transplantation. orBec® is currently the subject of a confirmatory Phase 3 clinical trial for the treatment of acute GI GVHD and an NIH-supported, Phase 2, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in the prevention of acute GVHD. Both of these trials are actively enrolling patients. Soligenix has also recently initiated an NIH-supported Phase 1/2 clinical trial of SGX201 in the prevention of acute radiation enteritis. Additionally, Soligenix has a Lipid Polymer Micelle (LPM™) drug delivery technology for the oral delivery of leuprolide for the treatment of prostate cancer and endometriosis.

Through its Biodefense Division, Soligenix is developing biomedical countermeasures pursuant to the Project BioShield Act of 2004. Soligenix's lead biodefense product in development is a recombinant subunit vaccine called RiVax™, which is designed to protect against the lethal effects of exposure to ricin toxin. RiVax™ has been shown to be well tolerated and immunogenic in a Phase 1 clinical trial in normal volunteers. RiVax™ is also the subject of a recent $9.4 million NIH grant received by the Company supporting development of new heat stable vaccines.

For further information regarding Soligenix, Inc., please visit the Company's website at

This press release contains forward-looking statements that reflect Soligenix, Inc.'s current expectations about its future results, performance, prospects and opportunities. Statements that are not historical facts, such as "anticipates," "believes," "intends," or similar expressions, are forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results in future periods to differ materially from what is expressed in, or implied by, these statements. Soligenix cannot assure you that it will be able to successfully develop or commercialize products based on its technology, including orBec®, SGX201, RiVax™, and LPM™, particularly in light of the significant uncertainty inherent in developing vaccines against bioterror threats, manufacturing and conducting preclinical and clinical trials of vaccines, and obtaining regulatory approvals, that its cash expenditures will not exceed projected levels, that product development and commercialization efforts will not be reduced or discontinued due to difficulties or delays in clinical trials or due to lack of progress or positive results from research and development efforts, that it will be able to successfully obtain any further grants and awards, maintain its existing grants which are subject to performance, enter into any biodefense procurement contracts with the US Government or other countries, that the US Congress may not pass any legislation that would provide additional funding for the Project BioShield program, that it will be able to patent, register or protect its technology from challenge and products from competition or maintain or expand its license agreements with its current licensors, or that its business strategy will be successful. Important factors which may affect the future use of orBec® for gastrointestinal GVHD include the risks that: the FDA's requirement that Soligenix conduct additional clinical trials to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of orBec® will take a significant amount of time and money to complete and positive results leading to regulatory approval cannot be assumed; Soligenix is dependent on the expertise, effort, priorities and contractual obligations of third parties in the clinical trials, manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution of its products; orBec® may not gain market acceptance if it is eventually approved by the FDA; and others may develop technologies or products superior to orBec®. Factors affecting the development and use of SGX201 and LPMTM are similar to those affecting orBec®. These and other factors are described from time to time in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, but not limited to, Soligenix's reports on Forms 10-Q and 10-K. Unless required by law, Soligenix assumes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements as a result of new information or future events.

SOURCE Soligenix, Inc.
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