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ExonHit Reports Proof-of-Concept in Breast Cancer Diagnostic Using its SpliceArray(TM) Platform

March 16, 2009

PARIS, March 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — ExonHit Therapeutics
(Alternext: ALEHT) today reported the publication in Lancet Oncology of a
study conducted by Institut Gustave Roussy, which describes the
identification of a deregulated cell function in breast cancer through the
analysis of alternative RNA splicing [1]. Study data demonstrate that exons
are differently expressed in malignant and benign lesions, and alternative
transcripts determine the molecular characteristics of breast malignancy.

“The splice variants that we have identified could be used as targets for
development of targeted therapies and also for a more precise diagnostic
test. A molecular diagnosis for breast cancer could improve the performance
of current diagnosis methods by increasing accuracy of cytological
investigations and decreasing the use of core-needle biopsy or exploratory
surgery,” said Fabrice Andre, M.D. Breast Cancer Unit, Department of Medical
Oncology, Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France. He added: “Patients
could greatly benefit from a more precise diagnosis.”

“We are very happy to report that this independent study demonstrates the
clinical usefulness of our SpliceArray(TM) platform. It constitutes another
example of its many possible applications,” stated Dr. Loic Maurel, President
of the Management Board of ExonHit Therapeutics. “We are using the same
technology platform for all our blood based diagnostic projects; our
internally funded diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s disease (EHT Dx21) and the
breast, colon and prostate cancer diagnostics developed with bioMerieux. We
look forward to seeing other applications of our technology and launching the
first product developed with this technology on the market.”

SpliceArray(TM) biochips are ExonHit’s proprietary research tools [2].
They quantify mRNA expression at the exon level. They also provide a
comprehensive RNA splicing analysis across the entire human genome and enable
the identification of known splice variants as well as the detection of
variants which have not yet been discovered or catalogued. They represent a
significant improvement over DNA arrays which only quantify expression at the
gene level.

The study conducted by Institut Gustave Roussy and leading to this
signature identification is the first study based on a large dataset of 165
breast tumor samples that compares gene expression of malignant versus benign
breast tumors. The signature was tested on 71 tumor samples, 68 of which were
properly classified; sensitivity and specificity were respectively 96% and
95% [1].

About ExonHit’s SpliceArray(TM)

ExonHit’s SpliceArray(TM) platform represents a novel generation of
microarrays that incorporates a specific probe configuration, enabling an
exhaustive monitoring of RNA splice variants [2]. The Human Genome Wide
SpliceArray(TM) biochips which profile close to 21,000 human genes associated
to 140,000 RNA splice events have been used in the Company’s biomarker
discovery process.

RNA splicing represents a key regulatory mechanism of gene expression.
One single gene can be transcribed into several splice variants encoding
proteins exhibiting different biological functions. Current predictions
suggest that as many as 80% of human genes exhibit some form of alternative
splicing. Given the large contribution of splice variants to the human
transcriptome and the high density of disease-causing mutations that occur in
splicing-related sequences, the monitoring of alterations in alternatively
spliced transcripts represents not only a source of potential drug targets,
but also a biomarkers discovery engine.

About Institute Gustave Roussy

The Institut Gustave Roussy (IGR, Villejuif, France), European leading
Comprehensive Cancer Center, is a non profit academic entity belonging to the
French public hospital service and that is authorized to receive donations
and legacies. IGR is a center wholly patient-oriented with a global expertise
and the mission to fight cancer. Located South of Paris on an unique site,
IGR employs 2,000 professionals working in care, research and teaching. Some
IGR figures: 368 beds and places for day-cases, 159 certified physicians, 751
professional caregivers, 161,000 consultations and 43,000 patients cared per
year, 14 basic research units, 300 research scientists, and 260 students,
researchers and physicians trained per year. For more information, please
visit http://www.igr.fr.

About ExonHit Therapeutics

ExonHit Therapeutics (Alternext: ALEHT) is a fast emerging healthcare
player active in both therapeutics and diagnostics. The Company is applying
its proprietary technology, based on the analysis of alternative RNA
splicing, to develop diagnostic tests and innovative treatments for
neurodegenerative diseases, especially Alzheimer’s disease and cancers.
ExonHit has a balanced investment strategy with internal development programs
and strategic collaborations, in particular with bioMerieux and Allergan.

ExonHit is headquartered in Paris, France and has a U.S. facility in
Gaithersburg, Maryland. The Company is listed on Alternext of NYSE Euronext
Paris. For more information, please visit http://www.exonhit.com.

Disclaimer

This press release contains elements that are not historical facts
including, without limitation, certain statements on future expectations and
other forward-looking statements. Such statements are based on management’s
current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and
uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to
differ materially from those anticipated.

In addition, ExonHit Therapeutics, its shareholders, and its affiliates,
directors, officers, advisors and employees have not verified the accuracy
of, and make no representations or warranties in relation to, statistical
data or predictions contained in this press release that were taken or
derived from third party sources or industry publications, and such
statistical data and predictions are used in this press release for
information purposes only.

Finally, this press release may be drafted in the French and English
languages. In an event of differences between the texts, the French language
version shall prevail.

    References

    [1] Andre F, Michields S, Dessen P, Scott V, Suciu V, Uzan C,
        Lazar V, Lacroix L, Vassal G, Spielmann M, Vielh P, Delaloge S.
        Exonic expression profiling of breast cancer and benign lesions: a
        retrospective analysis. The Lancet Oncology, Early Online
        Publication, 26 February 2009

    [2] http://portal.splicearray.com

SOURCE ExonHit Therapeutics SA


Source: newswire



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