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SRI International and PhenoMatriX Collaborate to Develop Platin-Based Chemotherapies

MENLO PARK, Calif., Dec, 2, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- SRI International, an independent nonprofit research and development organization, announced today that it is collaborating with PhenoMatriX (PMX), a biotechnology company, on the development of platin-based chemotherapies.  Platin-based drugs such as cisplatin and related analogues are used to treat a variety of cancers and have served as major weapons against solid tumors and other difficult-to-treat cancers since the 1970s.  Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide.  Although 861 new cancer medicines and vaccines were in development in 2009 (PhRMA report), and many new products have reached patients in recent years, cancer that has metastasized remains very difficult to treat.  Metastasis occurs in as many as 40 percent of breast cancer cases.

Currently available platin-based drugs are powerful cancer therapies, yet their impact is often diminished by toxicity and resistance, even for newer drugs such as carboplatin and oxaliplatin.  By designing novel therapeutic agents based on an understanding of metabolic cell death pathways and targeting these drugs to mitochondria, PMX has identified effective new platins with lower toxicity.

As part of the collaboration, SRI researchers will perform preclinical research and development (R&D) studies on novel chemotherapeutics provided by PMX and its commercial development partner.  SRI will receive royalties on sales of specific PMX drugs and an equity stake in the company once R&D milestones are met.  PMX will seek additional funding and partnerships to advance its leads into clinical trials and to market.

"Having collaborated with Dr. Steliou on a number of innovative programs for more than a decade, I am pleased to announce this joint effort with PMX around new drugs that have the potential to increase the efficacy of platins while reducing their side effects and decreasing resistance," said Walter Moos, Ph.D., vice president of SRI's Biosciences Division.  "While we are a minimum of two years away from human clinical testing, each step forward builds on our ability to ultimately benefit cancer patients."

"By working with SRI International, an experienced collaborator whose R&D team has discovered and developed multiple anticancer drugs that have entered clinical trials and gained regulatory approval, we hope to achieve similar success with our new chemotherapeutic platins," said Kosta Steliou, Ph.D., founder, president, and CEO of PhenoMatriX.  "It is also a pleasure to continue working with Dr. Moos and his team on new approaches to improving health and saving lives."  

Douglas V. Faller, M.D., Ph.D., the Karin Grunebaum professor of cancer research and director of the Cancer Center at Boston University Medical Center, of which Dr. Steliou is also a member, commented that "Platins have been the mainstay of chemotherapeutic regimens for a variety of solid tumors for many years. There is clearly a need for the development of more potent, but simultaneously less toxic derivatives, particularly derivatives effective against platin-resistant tumors.  These compounds therefore have the potential to benefit many patients with diverse cancers, and represent a particularly promising development for cancer chemotherapy."

About SRI's Biosciences Division

SRI's Biosciences division carries out basic research, drug discovery, and drug development, and provides contract research organization (CRO) services.  SRI has all the resources necessary to take R&D from "Idea to IND"®—from initial discovery to the start of human clinical trials—and specializes in cancer, immunology and inflammation, infectious disease, and neuroscience.  SRI's product pipeline has yielded marketed drugs, therapeutics currently in clinical trials, and additional programs in earlier stages.  In its CRO business, SRI has helped government and commercial clients and partners advance many drugs into patient testing.  SRI is also working to create the next generation of technologies in areas such as diagnostics, drug delivery, medical devices, and systems biology.

About SRI International

Silicon Valley-based SRI International is one of the world's leading independent research and technology development organizations.  SRI, which was founded by Stanford University as Stanford Research Institute in 1946 and became independent in 1970, has been meeting the strategic needs of clients and partners for more than 60 years.  Perhaps best known for its invention of the computer mouse and interactive computing, SRI has also been responsible for major advances in networking and communications, robotics, drug discovery and development, advanced materials, atmospheric research, education research, economic development, national security, and more.  The nonprofit institute performs sponsored research and development for government agencies, businesses, and foundations.  SRI also licenses its technologies, forms strategic alliances, and creates spin-off companies.  In 2009, SRI's consolidated revenues, including its wholly owned for-profit subsidiary, Sarnoff Corporation, were approximately $470 million.  Sarnoff Corporation, a leader in vision, video, and semiconductor innovations, will be fully integrated into SRI effective January 1, 2011.

SOURCE SRI International
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