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Cato Research Ltd. and Advanced Targeting Systems, Inc. Partner to Develop SP-SAP for Chronic Pain

DURHAM, N.C., and SAN DIEGO, April 3, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- Cato Research Ltd., a global contract research and development organization, and Advanced Targeting Systems, Inc. (ATS), a privately held biotechnology company, announced today a new strategic alliance focused on development and commercialization of SP-SAP, ATS's lead drug candidate for chronic pain. Advanced Pain Therapeutics LLC (APT), a new strategic development company formed by Cato Research, ATS, and Cato BioVentures, the venture capital affiliate of Cato Research, obtained exclusive, worldwide rights to develop, manufacture, use, and sell SP-SAP for the treatment of severe chronic pain. Cato Research will provide CRO services to the new company.

SP-SAP is a single-dose, nonopioid, substance P receptor-targeted treatment designed to specifically bind to and eliminate a subset of neurons that send the chronic pain signal to the brain. Preclinical studies in animal models have shown that SP-SAP eliminates chronic pain without disrupting other sensory modalities or motor function and is well tolerated.

"When we partner early, as we have here, we can make a major difference in the overall development of promising drug candidates such as SP-SAP," said Lynda Sutton, COO of Cato Research and CEO of Advanced Pain Therapeutics. "The flexible, broad-based relationships among APT, ATS, and Cato Research position us well to execute our innovative drug development model."

Denise Higgins, Vice President of ATS, affirms that this arrangement allows for a unique synergy between the companies. "We are enthusiastic about working with APT and Cato Research to help address the under-served chronic pain population. Our preclinical work with SP-SAP makes us very optimistic about the impact this innovative treatment can have for those who are suffering."

Chronic disease states and tissue damage can lead to chronic pain. In particular, terminally ill patients often experience severe, chronic pain due to advancement of disease or unwanted side effects of treatment. Although in many cases, standard treatments, such as opioids, can control pain, there is a significant subset of patients who cannot find relief through standard care. Use of opioids can also be associated with unwanted, severe side-effects. In these cases, sedation or cordotomy may be a patient's only option for pain relief. Hence, severe chronic pain represents a serious, poorly met medical need. SP-SAP offers a novel approach to target a specific set of neurons involved in chronic pain and as such, has the potential to revolutionize the way severe chronic pain is treated.

About Advanced Pain Therapeutics

Headquartered near Research Triangle Park, privately held APT will work with Cato Research and Cato BioVentures to develop and commercialize SP-SAP as a novel, nonopioid treatment for severe chronic pain, with minimal adverse side effects.

About Cato Research

Founded in 1988 by Allen Cato, M.D., Ph.D., and Lynda Sutton and headquartered near Research Triangle Park, Cato Research is a global, full-service contract research and development organization providing strategic and tactical support for clients in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and medical diagnostic industries. With a staff of more than 300 employees located in the United States, Europe, Canada, Israel, and South Africa, Cato Research's services range from design and management of preclinical and clinical studies to submission of regulatory documents required for marketing approval.

About Advanced Targeting Systems

A San Diego-based biotechnology company, ATS is a pioneer in the use of toxin conjugates targeted to eliminate specific cells through a powerful technique called Molecular Neurosurgery. Since 1994, Dr. Douglas Lappi, the leading expert in the manufacture and use of targeted toxins, and his team at ATS have been developing and selling reagents to the research community and major pharmaceutical companies. The current product line includes targeted toxins, antibodies and custom services designed to assist scientists in the study of nervous system function, brain-related diseases and disorders. The technology that provides the foundation for ATS's products has a broad spectrum of clinical applications, such as pain, cancer, autoimmune disorders and infectious diseases.

SOURCE Cato Research Ltd.
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