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Southern Research Institute Licenses Anti-Cancer Drug Compound to Virium Pharmaceuticals
Date:9/13/2007

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Sept. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Southern Research Institute today announced that it has licensed the rights to 4'-Thio-Ara-C, also known as SR9025, to Virium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. To date, six of Southern Research's anti-cancer drugs have received FDA approval and are on the market. Six others, including 4'-Thio-Ara-C, are in late stage preclinical testing or in early clinical trials.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070913/DCTH022 )

"Southern Research's agreement with Virium helps bring our work one step closer to the patients we hope to help. This is the first anti-cancer compound to be licensed after the completion of early clinical trials and we are eager to see it move through the pipeline," said John A. "Jack" Secrist, III, Ph.D., president and CEO of Southern Research. "We appreciate being able to work with a company when the success of our drug candidate is important to the success of the company."

The 4'-Thio-Ara-C compound, now registered to Virium as VP700, has shown activity against certain types of leukemia and autoimmune diseases. It is a third generation, novel nucleoside analog that has already completed two phase I trials.

"Southern Research's prestigious cancer program and international track record are well known and respected in the industry. The opportunity to work with a compound designed and developed by researchers at Southern Research is very exciting," said James Pachence, Ph.D., Virium Pharmaceuticals president and CEO. "Our strategy is to focus on targets that play key roles in diseases, and which can potentially be exploited in multiple indications beyond oncology. In addition to VP700, we are currently developing a portfolio of chemistry-driven HDAC inhibitors for cancer."

Southern Research will receive cash and stock in Virium, and will hold seats on the Virium Pharmaceuticals Scientific Advisory Board and the Board of Directors. The technical seat will be filled by Dr. Secrist and the Board seat (non-voting) will be filled by Dr. Nancy M. Gray, vice president of Corporate Development at Southern Research.

ABOUT SOUTHERN RESEARCH

Southern Research is a not-for-profit organization that conducts scientific research at facilities in Alabama, Maryland, Missouri and North Carolina. Southern Research provides contract and basic research in the fields of preclinical drug discovery and development, advanced engineering, and environmental and energy-related research. For more information, see http://www.SouthernResearch.org.

ABOUT VIRIUM PHARMACEUTICALS

Virium Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing novel therapeutics with an initial focus on cancer. Virium has its lead cancer product, VP101, in clinical trials in the United States. VP101 is an HDAC inhibitor being developed in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute of the NIH. For more information, visit http://www.viriumpharma.com.

Media Contact:

Rhonda Jung Risa Goldman Burgess

Southern Research Institute Schwartz Communications

205-581-2317 781-684-0770

Jung@southernresearch.org southern@schwartz-pr.com


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