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BerGenBio Awarded BIA Grant to Develop Innovative Therapeutics for Drug Resistant Cancers

March 10, 2014

BERGEN, Norway, March 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –

NOK 13 million funding secured from the Research Council of Norway

BerGenBio AS (“BerGenBio” or the “Company”), an oncology biopharmaceutical company, is
pleased to announce the award of a NOK 13 million grant from the Research Council of
Norway’s User-driven Research based Innovation programme (BIA) to help fund research into
novel therapeutics for inhibiting tumor epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a key
driver of metastasis (cancer spread) and a mechanism of drug-resistance.

The focus of the project, titled: “Novel therapeutics inhibiting the EMT/Axl pathway
in aggressive cancers”, is to implement state-of-the-art R&D strategies to identify and
develop new drug candidates with the potential to prevent and reverse acquired cancer drug
resistance. There is a significant unmet medical need for new treatments that prevent drug
resistance. It is estimated that one in three people die of cancer, 90% of which from
tumors that have spread and become resistant to treatment. A number of studies have shown
that the Axl receptor kinase is closely linked to drug resistance and drugs that inhibit
it could offer a promising potential new treatment option.

Research by BerGenBio in the development of BGB324, the Company’s first-in-class
selective Axl kinase inhibitor, has firmly established the concept that inhibition of the
Axl/EMT pathway is effective against acquired drug resistant and aggressive cancers and
has also identified new approaches to inhibiting EMT. The development of a second
generation of Axl-pathway targeting therapeutics has the potential to lead to more
effective drugs in an era of increasingly personalized medicine. The BIA funding will be
used to support development of these new concepts into new, highly innovative drug leads
with early preclinical proof-of-concept.

Established in 2006, the BIA programme is one of the largest programmes at the
Research Council and is a key partner for Norwegian trade and industry. This broad-based
programme supports high-quality R&D projects with good business and socio-economic
potential.

BerGenBio has previously received NOK 11.7 million from the BIA for the project:
“Targeting Cancer Stem Cells with Axl inhibitors to Treat Advanced Metastatic Cancer” in
2012.

Richard Godfrey, CEO of BerGenBio, commented: “There is a growing need for new
therapies to treat aggressive cancers that are resistant to current anti-cancer drugs. We
have demonstrated that Axl plays a key role in drug resistance with our lead drug
candidate, BGB324, a first-in-class selective Axl kinase inhibitor, currently in Phase Ib
clinical studies. This funding will help accelerate our research efforts to uncover new
drugs to address this significant unmet medical need.”

About the Axl kinase receptor

The Axl tyrosine kinase receptor is regarded as one of the most promising new
therapeutic targets for cancer drug development. It is upregulated in tumors residing in a
hostile micro-environment and plays a crucial role in the epithelial-mesenchymal
transition (EMT), which in turn is a key driver of metastasis (cancer spread) and in
mechanisms of acquired drug-resistance.

About BerGenBio AS

BerGenBio AS is a biopharmaceutical company located in Bergen, Norway. The company is
committed to developing first in class therapeutics that inhibit tumor EMT, preventing the
formation of cancer stem cells and disrupting the important mechanisms of acquired cancer
drug resistance. The company is founded on proprietary platform technology called
CellSelect(TM), which uses information from RNAi screening studies to identify and
validate novel drug targets and biomarkers. BGB324 is the first compound in BerGenBio’s
pipeline to enter clinical trials, with additional compounds and drug targets at different
stages of preclinical development.

SOURCE BerGenBio


Source: PR Newswire



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