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Bionovo Initiates Menerba (MF101) Phase 3 Clinical Trial for Menopausal Hot Flashes

EMERYVILLE, Calif., Oct. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Bionovo, Inc. (Nasdaq: BNVI), a pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of safe and effective treatments for women's health and cancer, today announced that enrollment has started to the Phase 3 pivotal clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of two doses of Menerba™ (MF101) among a cohort of postmenopausal women for the treatment of menopausal hot flashes.

The Phase 3, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial evaluating Menerba is currently open for enrollment. A total of 50 clinical sites in the U.S. will enroll 1,200 postmenopausal women between the ages of 40 and 65 years. Participants will be randomized to Menerba 5g/day, Menerba 10g/day or placebo and treated for 12 weeks. The primary aims of the study are to determine the safety and efficacy of two doses of Menerba compared to placebo after 12 weeks of treatment.  Efficacy will be measured by the reduction of moderate to severe hot flushes from baseline to 12 weeks of treatment. Dr. Wulf Utian, Executive Director Emeritus and Honorary Founding President of the North America Menopause Society and Professor Emeritus at Case Western Reserve University is serving as the Principal Investigator for the study.

"We have had a very busy and productive year preparing for today's important launch of the late stage clinical trial in the field of women's health. As predicted from our vast toxicology data and the mechanism of action, we showed that higher doses of Menerba were very safe and demonstrated a level of efficacy similar to hormone therapy. Today we are proceeding with our first pivotal Phase 3 trial of Menerba with great optimism and enthusiasm. We are elated to be one step closer to providing a truly novel agent for the treatment of menopausal hot flashes to the 40 million women in need of this therapy," said Mary Tagliaferri, M.D., Bionovo's President and Chief Medical Officer.

"This Phase 3 trial is one of two Phase 3 trials required by the FDA for approval," said Isaac Cohen, O.M.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Bionovo. "Menerba (MF101) has an enormous proven market and extraordinary market appeal due to its botanical origins and the safety and efficacy it demonstrated to date. We expect to have top-line data from this study in approximately 18 months."

About Menerba

Menerba is an oral drug candidate designed for the safe, effective treatment of vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes) associated with menopause, which is manufactured from botanical sources. Menerba is an estrogen receptor beta (ER-b) selective drug, developed as an alternative to the products currently on the market which have been shown to increase the risk for breast and uterine cancers. It has been shown that the increased risk of breast and uterine cancers is associated with activation of estrogen receptor alpha (ER-a) and that activation of estrogen receptor beta (ER-b) blocks the growth promoting effects on breast cancer cells. The active ingredients in Menerba are derived from botanicals with centuries of recorded safe, effective use in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Bionovo recognizes the opportunity to commercialize a product that would be as effective as hormone therapy, without the health risks. Menerba has completed a Phase 2 trial with positive results for efficacy and has been evaluated by an independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board and passed through a standard two-round examination for safety. Menerba also has been shown in animal studies to prevent the proliferation of breast cancer and to have a beneficial effect on osteoporosis, though this has not yet been studied in humans.

About Bionovo, Inc.

Bionovo, Inc. is a pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of safe and effective treatments for women's health and cancer, markets with significant unmet needs and billions in potential annual revenue. The Company applies its expertise in the biology of menopause and cancer to design new drugs derived from botanical sources which have novel mechanisms of action. Based on the results of early and mid-stage clinical trials, Bionovo believes they have discovered new classes of drug candidates within their rich pipeline with the potential to be leaders in their markets. Bionovo is headquartered in Emeryville, California and is traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol, "BNVI". For more information about Bionovo and its programs, visit:

Forward Looking Statements

This release contains certain forward-looking statements relating to the business of Bionovo, Inc. that can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "believes," "expects," or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, including uncertainties relating to product development, efficacy and safety, regulatory actions or delays, the ability to obtain or maintain patent or other proprietary intellectual property protection, market acceptance, physician acceptance, third party reimbursement, future capital requirements, competition in general and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from those described herein as anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Certain of these risks and uncertainties are or will be described in greater detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are available at Bionovo, Inc. is under no obligation (and expressly disclaims any such obligation) to update or alter its forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

SOURCE Bionovo, Inc.
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