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Cerimon to Conduct a Proof of Concept Study for Basiliximab for Noninfectious Uveitis, a Potentially Sight-Threatening Inflammation of the Eye
Date:3/10/2008

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Cerimon Pharmaceuticals announced today it has entered into an agreement with Novartis Pharma AG to conduct a proof of concept study for Simulect(R) (basiliximab) for the treatment of noninfectious uveitis, an autoimmune inflammation of the eye's internal structures. Uveitis can cause severe visual impairment and accounts for an estimated 10 percent of blindness cases in the Western World. Basiliximab is a monoclonal antibody that selectively blocks the interleukin-2 (IL-2) receptor. This mechanism of action provides highly targeted inhibition of the T-lymphocyte activation that is involved in serious immune-related diseases.

"There is a significant need for new effective therapies for the treatment of noninfectious uveitis patients. Part of Cerimon's overall strategy is to expand our basiliximab development program into other autoimmune diseases where there is significant medical need," commented Paul Sekhri, President and CEO of Cerimon Pharmaceuticals. "The agreement also exemplifies our strong relationship with Novartis, one of the leading worldwide pharmaceutical companies."

Dr. Daniel Levitt, Cerimon's Executive Vice President of Research and Development, stated, "Based on the mechanism of action of basiliximab, we believe this compound is well-suited to the treatment of noninfectious uveitis, a chronic eye inflammation that can lead to complications such as glaucoma, cataract, and vision loss. Basiliximab has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life for this group of uveitis patients and reduce adverse events often associated with current treatments that include corticosteroids and other immunosuppressive therapies."

In February 2006, Cerimon licensed basiliximab from Novartis for the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). In April 2007, Cerimon initiated a Phase IIb clinical study, titled ARREST UC-1 (Achieve Remission & Reduce or Eliminate Steroid The
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SOURCE Cerimon Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
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