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Bionovo Presents Positive Results from Phase 1B Trial of BZL101 for Metastatic Breast Cancer at the Society for Integrative Oncology

EMERYVILLE, Calif., Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Bionovo, Inc. (Nasdaq: BNVI) announced the company will present results from the Phase 1B clinical trial of their lead drug candidate for advanced metastatic breast cancer, BZL101, at the Society for Integrative Oncology's Fifth International Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The Company's oral presentation was selected as a top scoring abstract and will be presented as a part of the Best of the SIO Session on November 20, 2008.

The Phase 1B clinical trial was conducted at seven US clinical sites under the directorship of Dr. Charles Shapiro, Professor of Medicine and Director of Breast Oncology at Ohio State University. The primary objective of the study was to identify the maximum tolerated dose of BZL101 and to determine the safety and feasibility of the company's novel, oral anticancer therapy. A total of 27 women with metastatic breast cancer were enrolled to the Phase 1B trial. To date, 48 women with advanced breast cancer have been treated with BZL101 in two early phase trials. Results from the Phase 1B trial show that BZL101 continues to be safe and well-tolerated, with early signs of clinical efficacy.

Seventeen of the twenty-seven participants in the Phase 1B clinical trial were evaluable according to the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST). Of these seventeen evaluable women, six were stable on study medication for greater than 90 days and three were stable on study medication for greater than 180 days. One active patient on the trial has been stable for 12 months with radiographic evidence of tumor shrinkage.

"We are eager to advance BZL101 to Phase 2 clinical testing as the drug continues to have an improved safety profile over more traditional chemotherapeutic agents, and shows encouraging clinical activity in a cohort of women who have been heavily, but unsuccessfully, pretreated for metastatic breast cancer," said Dr. Mary Tagliaferri, President and Chief Medical Officer of Bionovo.

Overall compliance with study medication was excellent with 90% of prescribed doses taken. The most common side effects experienced by women in the Phase 1B clinical trial were mild diarrhea and nausea.

"We are encouraged by the results of the Company's second Phase 1 trial in women with advanced breast cancer," said Isaac Cohen, Chairman and CEO of Bionovo. "There are currently over 160,000 women in the United States living with advanced breast cancer who are eagerly awaiting an oral anticancer drug with minimal side effects and the ability to extend life without profoundly diminishing their quality of life. We believe BZL101 may be an important new anticancer agent because its biological selectivity allows the drug to kill cancer cells without affecting normal cells. This will lead to a dramatically lower side effect profile."

Phase 2 Clinical Trial

The Phase 2 clinical trial is currently enrolling 80 women diagnosed with advanced, measurable breast cancer who have received no more than two prior cytotoxic cancer therapies.

The trial is open at the following clinical sites under the directorship of the listed investigators:

    Institution                                    Site Principle Investigator
    California Cancer Care Inc.,
     Greenbrae/San Mateo, California                      Dr. Peter Eisenberg
    Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center,
     New York, New York                                   Dr. Dawn Hershman
    Comprehensive Cancer Center at Desert Regional
     Medical Center, Palm Springs, California             Dr. Gail Leichman
    Duke University, Durham, North Carolina               Dr. Gretchen Kimmick
    Lynn Regional Cancer Center, Boca Raton, Florida      Dr. Reshma Mahtani
    MD Anderson, Houston, Texas                           Dr. Banu Arun
    Memorial Cancer Institute, Hollywood, Florida         Dr. Alejandra Perez
    Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York            Dr. Tianhong Li
    Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio                 Dr. Ewa Mrozek
    St. Vincent's Medical Center, New York, New York      Dr. Paula Klein
    University of California, San Francisco, California   Dr. Hope Rugo
    University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois              Dr. Gini Fleming
    University of Miami, Miami, Florida                   Dr. Alberto Montero
    University of Pittsburg Magee Women's Hospital,
     Pittsburg, Pennsylvania                              Dr. Adam Brufsky
    University of Southern California, Los Angeles,
     California                                           Dr. Agustin Garcia
    University of Texas, Southwestern, Dallas, Texas      Dr. Jenny Li


BZL101 is an oral drug designed for the treatment of advanced breast cancer with a novel mechanism of action. BZL101 targets diseased cells while leaving normal cells healthy and intact. Normal cells depend primarily on the citric acid cycle (>85%) and very little on glycolysis (<7%) for energy production. Cancer cells depend largely on glycolysis (>85%) for energy production. BZL101 stops the production cycle of energy in cancer cells by inhibiting glycolysis. This leads to DNA damage and cell death in cancer cells while normal cells remain unharmed.

There are currently no effective therapeutic cures for advanced breast cancer and treatment is primarily aimed at palliation of symptoms as well as improving overall survival. Over 200,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Although survival after breast cancer treatment is improving, there are still over 40,000 deaths per year due to the disease in the Unites States alone.

Bionovo, Inc.

Bionovo 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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