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arGEN-X SIMPLE Antibody(TM) Platform set to Transform Therapeutic Antibody Discovery & Development

    ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands, March 1, 2010 /PRNewswire/ --

    - SIMPLE Antibody(TM) Platform Delivers Unprecedented Choice
      of Ultra-Potent Functional Antibody Leads Against Challenging Soluble
      and Cell Surface Targets.

    - ARGX-109, a Fully Human mAb Targeting Autoimmune,
      Inflammation and Oncology Indications, Enters Preclinical Development
      in Less Than 12 Months From Start of Discovery.

arGEN-X, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of human monoclonal antibodies using its proprietary SIMPLE Antibody(TM) platform, announces that it will provide an update on the development of this unique platform and its own antibody pipeline during the BIO-Europe Spring event in Barcelona (March 8-10, 2010).

Tim Van Hauwermeiren, the CEO of arGEN-X, will highlight a series of important technical breakthroughs during his presentation, demonstrating the power of the Company's SIMPLE Antibody(TM) platform to deliver multiple, diverse, ultra-potent functional antibodies that are able to blanket any target, regardless of its complexity.

He will also outline the very rapid progress that arGEN-X has made in building its own pipeline with its lead product ARGX-109, which entered preclinical development less than 12 months from the start of the discovery process. ARGX-109 was chosen from a panel of 65 functional antagonists generated against IL-6, a cytokine that plays an important role in several autoimmune, inflammation and oncology indications.

arGEN-X' SIMPLE Antibody(TM) Platform is based on the active immunisation of outbred Camelids with target antigen to deliver antibodies whose variable regions are virtually identical to those of human antibodies. These variable domains are combined with human constant domains to generate full size, fully human therapeutic antibodies.

SIMPLE Antibodies routinely exhibit gold-standard potency and manufacturability without the need for additional engineering, making them an ideal starting point for a therapeutic antibody development program.

Prof. Hans de Haard, CSO of arGEN-X commenting on the SIMPLE Antibody(TM) platorm said:

"The work that we have conducted in the past six months has clearly demonstrated the power of our SIMPLE Antibody(TM) platform and its potential to transform the development of therapeutic antibodies. We have tested its full potential by selecting as targets two highly challenging receptors known to play a pivotal role in cancer. In just a matter of weeks, we managed to generate an incredibly diverse panel of ultra-potent antagonist antibodies, effectively blanketing these targets in a way that, according to our expert collaborators, has never been seen before. Given the outstanding manufacturability of our human antibody leads, we are now in a position to further develop candidates with the best possible drug characteristics in record time."

arGEN-X intends to use the power of the SIMPLE Antibody(TM) platform to build its business by making its technology and know-how available to biopharmaceutical companies through selective strategic partnerships and adding more exciting programs to its preclinical portfolio.

Tim Van Hauwermeiren, CEO of arGEN-X commenting on the progress with the Company's own antibody pipeline said:

"Our lead program has already been remarkably productive, identifying 65 unique IL-6 antagonists with potencies in the picomolar to femtomolar range. Both lead and back-up molecules in this program have shown impressive performance in in vivo efficacy studies less than a year from project commencement, and are now being progressed into preclinical development. We are extremely pleased with how quickly we have progressed all four of our internal programs. The progress that we have made so far with our platform and pipeline gives us great confidence in building a high-value business that makes us an attractive partner for big pharma."

The power of the SIMPLE Antibody(TM) platform has enabled arGEN-X to close a recent EUR12.5 milion Series A fund raising. The round was backed by a range of leading European life science investors including Forbion Capital Partners, LSP, Credit Agricole Private Equity, KBC Private Equity, BioGeneration Ventures, Erasmus MC Biomedical Fund, Thuja Capital Healthcare Funds, as well as the prestigious Belgian life sciences research institute VIB.

Note for the editor

About arGEN-X -

arGEN-X is a preclinical stage biopharmaceutical company with a broadly applicable, proprietary SIMPLE Antibody(TM) platform. The platform allows arGEN-X to create an unparalleled diversity of in vivo generated antibody leads against a broad range of human disease targets. This superior choice of ultra-high affinity and highly potent leads, having best-in-class human homology, allows for more stringent lead selection criteria, thereby increasing the probability of success later in the drug development path. The Company has validated its platform on four human disease targets to date and has broad patent claims in place covering its technology.

arGEN-X' SIMPLE Antibody(TM) Platform is based on the active immunisation of outbred Camelids with target antigens to deliver antibody whose variable regions are virtually identical to those of human antibodies. The combination of those variable domains with the constant domains of human antibodies, generates full size, human therapeutic antibodies.

The SIMPLE Antibody(TM) Platform enjoys an independent, unencumbered patent position and is free of target gatekeeping restrictions.

arGEN-X(TM) and SIMPLE Antibody(TM) are deposited trademarks of arGEN-X BV.

SIMPLE stands for Superior Immunodiversity with Minimal Protein Lead Engineering.

    For further information, please contact:

    Citigate Dewe Rogerson
    David Dible
    Mark Swallow
    Nina Enegren
    T: +44-207-282-2949/2948

    Tim Van Hauwermeiren, MSc, eMBA
    Chief Executive Officer
    T: +31-6-122-85-257


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