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YM BIOSCIENCES AND THE NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF CANADA BIOTECHNOLOGY RESEARCH INSTITUTE (NRC-BRI) PRODUCE NEW BREAST CANCER DRUG CANDIDATES
Date:12/10/2009

Collaboration to Create Optimized Antibodies Produces First Candidates Which Selectively Target HER2 in Breast Cancer

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - YM BioSciences Inc. (NYSE YMI, TSX:YM), today announced the first results of a collaborative program between YM and the National Research Council of Canada's Biotechnology Research Institute (NRC-BRI). Utilizing YM's IntelliMab(TM) technology, the program is designed to generate novel antibodies that target cell surface receptors associated with cancer, uniquely optimized to produce efficacy with reduced toxicities. The first successfully designed and delivered products from the collaboration are a number of antibodies that bind to HER2/neu-over-expressing breast cancer cells while minimally binding to HER2 on normal cardiac cells. The lead candidate antibody for conjugation is in the final stages of selection from that number.

"This is a new generation of rationally designed antibodies that bind to HER2/neu on cancer cells to an extent similar to that seen with trastuzumab (Herceptin(R), Genentech/Roche) but are distinguished from trastuzumab by their minimal targeting of HER2 on cardiac cells, which is expected to result in reduced collateral cardiac toxicity," said David Allan, Chairman and CEO of YM BioSciences. "The improved specificity of these anti-HER2 antibodies makes them amenable to conjugation with highly potent toxins which would permit the selected IntelliMab anti-HER2/neu conjugate antibody to be an important competitor to Trastuzumab-DM1 (Genentech/Immunogen)."

"Subsequent to the soon-to-be-completed functional studies for this panel of antibodies, the optimal candidate will be entered into full development," added Mr. Allan. "This work was informed by published observations for our lead antibody, nimotuzumab, which is differentiated from its competitors by its remarkably diminished toxicity."

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