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Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Receives Orphan-Drug Designation for KRX-0401 (Perifosine) for the Treatment of Multiple Myeloma

NEW YORK, Sept. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that KRX-0401 (perifosine) has received Orphan-Drug designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of multiple myeloma. In August, the Company announced that it had reached an agreement with the FDA regarding a Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) on the design of a Phase 3 trial in relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma and that the study is expected to start by year-end.

Ron Bentsur, Chief Executive Officer of Keryx, commented, "The Orphan-Drug designation for perifosine in multiple myeloma is a very important milestone for Keryx, as the market exclusivity protection provided by this designation significantly enhances the commercial opportunity of perifosine in this indication." Mr. Bentsur continued, "Following our exciting announcement last month that we had reached an agreement with the FDA on an SPA for a Phase 3 trial for perifosine in relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma, it is encouraging to further add to the value of the perifosine program with this Orphan-Drug designation. We look forward to commencing the Phase 3 study by year-end."

KRX-0401 (perifosine) is in-licensed by Keryx from Aeterna Zentaris, Inc. in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

About Orphan-Drug Designation

Orphan-drug designation is granted by the FDA Office of Orphan Drug Products to novel drugs or biologics that treat a rare disease or condition affecting fewer than 200,000 patients in the U.S. The designation provides the drug developer with a seven-year period of U.S. marketing exclusivity if the drug is the first of its type approved for the specified indication or if it demonstrates superior safety, efficacy, or a major contribution to patient care versus another drug of its type previously granted the designation for the same indication, as well as with tax credits for clinical research costs, the ability to apply for annual grant funding, clinical research trial design assistance and waiver of Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) filing fees.

About Special Protocol Assessments

The Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) process is a procedure by which the FDA provides official evaluation and written guidance on the design and size of proposed protocols that are intended to form the basis for a new drug application.

Final marketing approval depends on the results of efficacy, the adverse event profile and an evaluation of the benefit/risk of treatment demonstrated in the Phase 3 trial. The SPA agreement may only be changed through a written agreement between the sponsor and the FDA, or if the FDA becomes aware of a substantial scientific issue essential to product efficacy or safety. For more information on Special Protocol Assessment, please visit: dances/ucm080571.pdf

About Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells, is an incurable but treatable disease. Multiple myeloma is the second most-common hematologic cancer, representing 1% of all cancer diagnoses and 2% of all cancer deaths. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2009 there will be an estimated 20,580 new cases of multiple myeloma and an estimated 10,500 deaths from multiple myeloma in the United States. To date, several FDA approved therapies exist for the treatment of multiple myeloma. Despite this progress, patients continue to relapse, become refractory to prior treatments and eventually die from their disease. Thus, new therapies are needed to treat these patients and extend their survival.

About Keryx Biopharmaceuticals

Keryx Biopharmaceuticals is focused on the acquisition, development and commercialization of medically important pharmaceutical products for the treatment of life-threatening diseases, including cancer and renal disease. Keryx is developing KRX-0401 (perifosine), a novel, potentially first-in-class, oral anti-cancer agent that inhibits the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway, a key signaling cascade that has been shown to induce cell growth and cell transformation. KRX-0401 has demonstrated both safety and clinical efficacy in several tumor types, both as a single agent and in combination with novel therapies. KRX-0401 also modulates a number of other key signal transduction pathways, including the JNK and MAPK pathways, which are pathways associated with programmed cell death, cell growth, cell differentiation and cell survival. KRX-0401 is currently in Phase 2 clinical development for multiple tumor types, with a Phase 3 in multiple myeloma, under Special Protocol Assessment (SPA), pending commencement by year-end. Keryx is also developing Zerenex(TM) (ferric citrate), an oral, iron-based compound that has the capacity to bind to phosphate and form non-absorbable complexes. Zerenex has recently completed a Phase 2 clinical program as a treatment for hyperphosphatemia (elevated phosphate levels) in patients with end-stage renal disease, and Keryx is in the process of finalizing the U.S. Phase 3 program for Zerenex in

consultation with the FDA. Keryx is headquartered in New York City.

Cautionary Statement

Some of the statements included in this press release, particularly those anticipating future clinical trials and business prospects for KRX-0401 (perifosine), may be forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. For those statements, we claim the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Among the factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially are the following: our ability to successfully and cost-effectively complete clinical trials for KRX-0401; the risk that the data (both safety and efficacy) from the Phase 3 study of KRX-0401 (perifosine) will not coincide with the data analyses from the Phase 1 / 2 study previously reported by the Company; and other risk factors identified from time to time in our reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Any forward-looking statements set forth in this press release speak only as of the date of this press release. We do not undertake to update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that occur after the date hereof. This press release and prior releases are available at The information found on our website and the FDA website is not incorporated by reference into this press release and is included for reference purposes only.

    The contact is:
    Lauren Fischer
    Director, Investor Relations
    Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc.
    Tel: 212.531.5962

SOURCE Keryx Biopharmaceuticals
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