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Oxford BioMedica Announces Research and Development Collaboration for Glaucoma

October 31, 2011

OXFORD, England, October 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ –

– Research and development agreement signed with Mayo Clinic -

Oxford BioMedica plc (“Oxford BioMedica” or “the Company”) (LSE: OXB),
the leading gene-based biopharmaceutical company, today announces that it
has entered into a research and development collaboration with Mayo Clinic,
Rochester (USA) to develop a novel gene therapy for the treatment of chronic
glaucoma. Under the terms of the agreement, Mayo Clinic and Oxford BioMedica
will undertake pre-clinical studies to establish the feasibility of treating
glaucoma using Oxford BioMedica’s proprietary LentiVector(R) gene delivery
technology expressing a COX-2 gene and a PGF-2alpha receptor gene in order
to reduce intraocular pressure. The collaboration includes an option for
exclusive US rights to license Mayo Clinic’s glaucoma technology, which
Oxford BioMedica can exercise upon completion of pre-clinical studies under
confidential terms agreed by Mayo Clinic and the Company.

The collaboration builds on earlier pre-clinical research, conducted by
Eric Poeschla M.D., Mayo Clinic and his research team, which has established
initial proof-of-concept for this approach to treating chronic glaucoma.
This work will be extended using the LentiVector(R) technology and may
support the rapid transition of another novel ocular gene therapy into
clinical development.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases characterised by vision loss due to
damage of the optic nerve affecting over 60 million people worldwide
(source: Mayo Clinic). Over 90% of glaucoma is classed as primary open-angle
glaucoma (also known as chronic glaucoma or chronic open-angle glaucoma)
which results from a partial blockage within the trabecular meshwork of the
eye, the tissue mainly responsible for draining the internal fluid of the
eye (aqueous humour). As the aqueous humour builds up, it causes increased
intraocular pressure which can damage the optic nerve. Damaged parts of the
nerve and retina lead to permanent patches of vision loss and, in some
cases, can lead to blindness.

Current treatment options for glaucoma aim to reduce intraocular
pressure either through topical methods (e.g. eye drops) or eye surgery,
however these approaches are not effective in all cases. Patient compliance
with topical treatments can be very poor, especially those requiring daily
application, and many therapies have side effects which can restrict chronic
use. Consequently, there remains a large unmet medical need in a significant
proportion of the patient population. Oxford BioMedica has conducted
pre-clinical and clinical studies that suggest a single application of its
LentiVector(R) platform products can provide sustained or permanent
therapeutic activity. By using a novel gene therapy to provide long-term
control of intraocular pressure, this approach could minimise the risk of
disease progression.

Stuart Naylor, Chief Scientific Officer of Oxford BioMedica, said: “We
believe that our LentiVector(R) gene delivery system is perfectly suited to
tackle chronic diseases of the eye. In addition to our four Phase I/II
ocular programmes partnered with Sanofi which are progressing well, we are
keen to explore new opportunities to which we can apply our unique
technology. We are pleased to be working with Mayo Clinic, a global leader
in medical research, on a potential treatment for glaucoma that will further
leverage our LentiVector(R) platform technology and broaden our ocular
development pipeline.”

Dr Eric Poeschla at Mayo Clinic, USA, commented: “Numerous aspects of
glaucoma are favorable for this approach. The disease’s lifelong persistence
and the incomplete efficacy and adherence seen with current treatment
methods are two of the main problems that make achieving a sustained
therapeutic effect via gene therapy an appealing prospect. In addition, the
target tissues involved in regulating intraocular pressure are relatively
small and confined, which enhances gene delivery feasibility. Finally, we
have shown that the approach causes sustained reduction in intraocular
pressure in pre-clinical models. We are pleased to collaborate with Oxford
BioMedica on research and clinical translation for the treatment of
glaucoma.”

Notes to editors

1. Oxford BioMedica

Oxford BioMedica plc (LSE: OXB) is a biopharmaceutical company
developing innovative gene-based medicines and therapeutic vaccines that aim
to improve the lives of patients with high unmet medical needs. The
Company’s technology platform includes a highly efficient LentiVector(R)
gene delivery system, which has specific advantages for targeting diseases
of the central nervous system and the eye; and a unique tumour antigen
(5T4), which is an ideal target for anti-cancer therapy. Through in-house
and collaborative research, Oxford BioMedica has a broad pipeline with
current partners and licensees including Sanofi, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline,
MolMed, Sigma-Aldrich, Biogen Idec, VIRxSYS, Emergent BioSolutions and
ImaginAb. Further information is available at

http://www.oxfordbiomedica.co.uk.

2. LentiVector(R) gene delivery technology

Oxford BioMedica’s LentiVector(R) gene delivery technology is one of the
most advanced gene delivery systems currently available, which has many
applications in product development and discovery research. It is the system
of choice for gene-based treatments addressing chronic and inherited
diseases. Oxford BioMedica has established a dominant intellectual property
estate in the field of lentiviral-vector mediated gene delivery through its
in-house research and from work conducted by the Company’s co-founders at
Oxford University.

3. Oxford BioMedica’s Phase I/II ocular programmes

Under the terms of an agreement signed with Sanofi in April 2009, Oxford
BioMedica is responsible for the pre-clinical and initial Phase I/II studies
of four lentiviral vector-based product candidates in the field of
ophthalmology: RetinoStat(R) for “wet” AMD, StarGen(TM) for Stargardt
disease, UshStat(R) for Usher syndrome 1B and EncorStat(R) for corneal graft
rejection. Oxford BioMedica granted Sanofi a license to develop the products
and an option for further development, manufacture and commercialisation on
a worldwide basis. At any time prior to or within a defined period after
completion of each Phase I/II study, Sanofi can exercise its option to
license the products and will then assume responsibility for on-going
activities. Sanofi also has rights to broaden its license to develop the
four products in additional indications, and has rights of first refusal to
license other lentiviral vector-based products for the treatment of ocular
diseases.

4. About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research
and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit
http://MayoClinic.com or http://MayoClinic.org/news.

        For further information, please contact:

        Oxford BioMedica plc:
        Lara Mott, Head of Corporate Communications
        Tel: +44(0)1865-783-000

        Media Enquiries:
        Mary Clark/Emma Thompson/Claire Dickinson
        M:Communications
        Tel: +44(0)20-7920-2342

SOURCE Oxford BioMedica plc


Source: PR Newswire