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ExonHit Therapeutics Expands Strategic Collaboration With Allergan

PARIS, France, January 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --

- Early Renewal of the Agreement to Extend the Collaboration Until December 2011

- Expansion of the Scope of the Collaboration to Include Antibody Discovery in Ophthalmology

- Revised Commercial Terms and Payments to ExonHit if Allergan Sublicenses to a Third Party

ExonHit Therapeutics (Alternext: ALEHT) today announced a reinforcement of its existing drug discovery collaboration with Allergan Sales, LLC (NYSE: AGN). The collaboration is extended until December 2011, includes antibody discovery within the scope of the research activities and encompasses revised commercial terms.

The collaboration which has been renewed several times and initiated in December 2002 focuses on the identification, development and commercialization of drugs for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, pain and ophthalmology. EHT/AGN 0001, the most advanced compound out of the collaboration, is currently ending Phase I clinical trials for pain indications. EHT/AGN 0002 and other compounds are in pre-clinical testing for indications in pain, ophthalmology or neurodegenerative diseases.

Allergan exercised its option to extend this collaboration until December 2011 earlier than anticipated. As part of the renewal agreement, Allergan will provide ExonHit with increased quarterly research funding instead of a single payment.

The scope of the collaboration is expanded to include epitope* discovery for the development of antibody therapeutics in ocular disorders. ExonHit's unique gene profiling technology can readily be applied to identify disease specific target proteins, but also pinpoints novel epitopes present in those proteins, which are produced via alternative splicing. ExonHit's approach offers the potential benefit of identifying epitopes that are particularly disease specific, thus enabling the discovery of safer drugs with fewer side effects. In addition, such epitopes may provide the opportunity to create new intellectual property, even in more heavily investigated areas.

"We are very pleased to expand further our successful and longstanding collaboration with Allergan. We believe that combining the capabilities of our two organizations and enlarging both the research and commercial scope will enhance our ability to create value for our shareholders," said Loic Maurel, CEO of ExonHit Therapeutics.

The agreement provides for revised commercial terms. It expands Allergan's rights when sublicensing compounds discovered in the course of the collaboration with ExonHit. In return, ExonHit will receive from Allergan upfront payments as well as payments linked to developmental milestones and sales achievements. ExonHit will also be paid royalties on future sales.

Detailed financial terms were not disclosed.

About ExonHit Therapeutics

ExonHit Therapeutics is the world's leader in the analysis of alternative RNA splicing, a process which when deregulated plays a key role in the onset of various diseases.

ExonHit Therapeutics has a multi-component commercial strategy to capture the maximum value from its leadership in alternative splicing. The Company is already generating revenues from a new generation of microarrays, SpliceArray(TM) family of products that enable life science researchers to detect crucial disease-associated information. These products are marketed worldwide in conjunction with Agilent and Affymetrix. In the field of diagnostics, ExonHit Therapeutics has a major collaboration with bioMerieux to develop completely novel predictive blood-based cancer diagnostics, which could play a key role in improving the treatment of breast cancer and other major cancers.

In parallel, ExonHit Therapeutics is developing its own therapeutic pipeline in the field of neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. The Company has advanced drug candidates into clinical trials and is evaluating several promising pre-clinical compounds. ExonHit Therapeutics also has a strategic partnership with Allergan, to discover and develop new therapeutics in the areas of pain, neurological diseases and ophthalmology. This collaboration provides on-going research funding to ExonHit.

Founded in 1997, ExonHit is headquartered in Paris, France and has a U.S. facility in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The Company is listed on Alternext of Euronext Paris (ISIN: FR0004054427; ticker: ALEHT) since November 17, 2005. For more information, please visit


This press release includes only summary information and does not purport to be comprehensive. The projections, forecast and estimates of ExonHit Therapeutics which may be contained herein are for illustrative purposes only and are based on management's current views and assumptions. Such projections, forecast and estimates involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, as described at Section 4.2 "Facteurs de risque" (Risk Factors) of the Document de Base available on ExonHit Therapeutics' website (, that may cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those anticipated in the summary information.

In addition, ExonHit Therapeutics, its shareholders, and its affiliates, directors, officers, advisors and employees have not verified the accuracy of, and make no representations or warranties in relation to, statistical data or predictions contained in this press release that were taken or derived from third party sources or industry publications, and such statistical data and predictions are used in this press release for information purposes only.

Finally, this press release may be drafted in the French and English languages. In an event of differences between the texts, the French language version shall prevail.

* A localized region on the surface of an antigen that is capable of eliciting an immune response and of combining with a specific antibody to counter that response

SOURCE ExonHit Therapeutics SA
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