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SuperGen's PIM Kinase Inhibitor, SGI-1776, Effective in Pre-Clinical Models of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

DUBLIN, Calif., Dec. 8/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- SuperGen Inc. (Nasdaq: SUPG), a pharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel cancer therapies, today announced that its oral PIM kinase inhibitor, SGI-1776, is effective both in vitro and in vivo in preclinical models of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) (Abstract #1922). This research was presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

In a poster presentation entitled "Inhibiting PIM-1 is effective in vitro and in vivo against ALL: A novel mechanistic and potentially clinically relevant druggable target," Dr. Valerie Brown and colleagues from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania demonstrated that SGI-1776 inhibited human ALL cell lines in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, SGI-1776 and the m-tor inhibitor rapamycin acted synergistically to inhibit ALL cell proliferation. In a clinically relevant in vivo model, NOD/SCID mice xenografted with human primary ALL cells, SGI-1776 also reduced tumor burden.

"Our PIM kinase inhibitor, SGI-1776, has significant potential in hematologic malignancies," commented Dr. Gregory Berk, Chief Medical Officer of SuperGen. "PIM-1 is known to be overexpressed in ALL, AML, CML, as well as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In many of these conditions PIM-1 overexpression is a poor prognostic factor. It has been postulated that inhibition of PIM kinase may potentiate the activity of m-tor inhibitors by modulation of m-tor inhibitor resistance pathways. These elegant preclinical experiments by Dr. Brown and her colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania support this hypothesis."

SuperGen recently received clearance for a phase I trial with SGI-1776 in patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and prostate cancer, and plans to initiate a second phase I trial of SGI-1776 in patients with relapsed/refractory leukemias in 2009.

Copies of the poster presentations at the ASH Annual Meeting are available in the pipeline section of SuperGen's Web site

About SGI-1776

SGI-1776 inhibits the three human PIM kinases (PIM-1, PIM-2 and PIM-3). PIM kinases are highly conserved serine-threonine kinases that are key regulators in many signaling pathways implicated in cancer. When expressed, PIM kinases are strong survival factors and can induce progression of the cell cycle, inhibition of apoptosis, and modulation of other signal transduction pathways. Therefore, SGI-1776 can induce cell death in cancer cells expressing PIM kinases and promote sensitivity of cancer cells to treatment with other targeted and chemotherapy drugs. SGI-1776 has broad potential as a single agent as well as in combination with other agents, as PIM kinases contribute to many malignancies including prostate adenocarcinomas, diffuse large cell lymphomas, as well as several types of leukemias.

About SuperGen

Based in Dublin, Calif., SuperGen, Inc. is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel cancer therapies. SuperGen is developing a number of therapeutic anticancer products focused on kinase and cell signaling inhibitors and DNA methyltransferase inhibitors. For more information about SuperGen, please visit

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains certain "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are typically preceded by words such as "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "intends," "will," "may," "should," or similar expressions. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in these statements. Factors that might cause the company's results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the ability to discover, develop and move target compounds into clinical development and other risks and uncertainties detailed from time to time in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission including its most recently filed Form 10-Q and 10-K. SuperGen, Inc. undertakes no duty to update any of these forward-looking statements to conform them to actual results.

    Timothy L. Enns
    SuperGen, Inc.
    SVP, Corporate Communications & Business Development
    Tel: (925) 560-2810

    Michael Beckerich
    Dorland Global Public Relations
    Tel:  (212) 677-7632

SOURCE SuperGen, Inc.
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