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Athera Biotechnologies and Dyax Announce a Collaboration to Discover and Develop Antibodies for Cardiovascular Inflammation

STOCKHOLM, October 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Athera Biotechnologies AB and Dyax Corp. (NASDAQ:DYAX) announced today that they have entered into a collaboration to discover and to develop therapeutic products for the prevention or treatment of cardiovascular inflammatory diseases.

The collaboration follows the recent publication of work by Athera scientific founders, Professors Frostegard and de Faire of the Karolinska Institutet. The research links naturally occurring antibodies against phosphorylcholine (PC) to atherosclerosis, and correlates low antibody levels with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease in which the walls of the blood vessels are thickened and become less elastic.

During the discovery phase of the collaboration, Dyax will utilize its proprietary antibody libraries to generate fully human monoclonal antibodies. Athera will provide reagents, assays, and in vivo animal models for use in selecting a clinical product candidate. Upon successful completion of the discovery work, Athera and Dyax will have the option to advance the antibody lead(s) into clinical development under the terms of a global co-development and commercialization agreement.

"We are very pleased to be working with Athera," commented Clive Wood, EVP, Discovery Research and CSO of Dyax Corp. "Through their innovative research from the Karolinska Institutet, we believe Athera has identified an exciting potential opportunity for therapeutic antibody treatment of cardiovascular inflammation."

"The strength of Dyax's phage display technology, screening capabilities and expertise in drug discovery make them an excellent partner to advance our cardiovascular research program," said Carina Schmidt, CEO of Athera.

About Dyax Corp.

Dyax is focused on advancing novel biotherapeutics for unmet medical needs, with an emphasis on oncology and inflammatory indications. Dyax utilizes its proprietary drug discovery technology to identify antibody, small protein and peptide compounds for clinical development. Dyax's lead product candidate is DX-88 (ecallantide), a recombinant small protein that is currently being evaluated for its therapeutic potential in two separate indications. On September 24, 2008, Dyax announced the submission of its Biologics License Application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval of DX-88 for the treatment of hereditary angioedema (HAE). DX-88 has orphan drug designation in the U.S. and E.U., as well as Fast Track designation in the U.S., for the treatment of acute attacks of HAE. Additionally, DX-88 is being evaluated for the prevention of blood loss during on-pump cardiothoracic surgery (CTS) through its partner Cubist Pharmaceuticals. Dyax licensed to Cubist the intravenous formulation of DX-88 for surgical indications in North America and Europe. DX-88 and other compounds in Dyax's pipeline were identified using its patented phage display technology, which rapidly selects compounds that bind with high affinity and specificity to therapeutic targets. Dyax leverages this technology broadly with over 70 revenue generating licenses and collaborations for therapeutic discovery, as well as in non-core areas such as affinity separations, diagnostic imaging, and research reagents.

Dyax Disclaimer

This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding the expected benefits of Dyax's licensed technology in its collaboration with Athera and the prospects for development of therapeutic antibodies to treat cardiovascular inflammation. Statements that are not historical facts are based on Dyax's current expectations, beliefs, assumptions, estimates, forecasts and projections about the industry and markets in which Dyax competes. The statements contained in this release are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions, which are difficult to predict. Therefore, actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what is expressed in such forward-looking statements. Important factors which may affect the expected benefits of Dyax's collaboration with Athera and the prospects for development of antibodies to phosphorylcholine include the risks that: products from this collaboration may not show therapeutic effect or an acceptable safety profile in clinical trials or could take a significantly longer time to gain regulatory approval than Dyax expects or may never gain approval; products developed in this collaboration may not gain market acceptance; others may develop products superior to those being developed in this collaboration; Dyax is dependent on the expertise, effort, priorities and contractual obligations of Athera in the development of products arising out of this collaboration; Dyax and Athera may not be able to obtain and maintain intellectual property protection for the products of this collaboration; and other risk factors described or referred to in Dyax's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and other periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Dyax cautions investors not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this release. These statements speak only as of the date of this release, and Dyax undertakes no obligations to update or revise these statements, except as may be required by law. Dyax specifically disclaims responsibility for information describing Athera and its business other than the license with Dyax.

Dyax and the Dyax logo are the registered trademarks of Dyax Corp.

About Athera Biotechnologies

Athera Biotechnologies AB develops novel products for risk assessment and treatment of CVD. The company was founded in 2002 to exploit findings made by Professors Johan Frostegard and Ulf de Faire on the critical role of phospholipid antibodies (aPL) in the inflammatory process of cardiovascular disease. Athera is based in Karolinska Institutet Science Park in Stockholm and main investors include Karolinska Development and Baltic Sea Foundation. Athera is a major partner in the highly ranked EU-project CVDIMMUNE lead by Karolinska Institutet. The project involves 10 academic and industrial partners, including Phadia GmbH, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz and Leiden University Medical Center. For further information see

Contact: Carina Schmidt, CEO, Phone: +46705525115, Mail:

SOURCE Athera Biotechnologies
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