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Soligenix Announces Positive Preliminary Results of SGX202 in Radiation Injury

January 18, 2011

PRINCETON, N.J., Jan. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Soligenix, Inc. (Soligenix or the Company) (OTC Bulletin Board: SNGX), a late-stage biopharmaceutical company, announced today promising preliminary results from a preclinical study of SGX202 (oral beclomathasone dipropionate or BDP) in a canine gastrointestinal acute radiation syndrome (GARS) model. The results indicate that dogs treated with SGX202 demonstrated statistically significant (p=0.04) improvement in survival after exposure to lethal doses of total body irradiation (TBI) when compared to control dogs.

These results demonstrate that SGX202 has the potential to reduce the inflammatory cytokine storm induced by the radiation damaged gastrointestinal (Gl) tract. The GI tract is extremely sensitive to radiation injury. GI damage is the major cause of rapid mortality during high dose radiation exposure, such as could be encountered during nuclear accidents or with the use of dirty bombs. Gut injury from high dose radiation is associated with epithelial cell damage and hypoperfusion of the intestine, which stimulates a vigorous local and systemic inflammatory response.

The aim of the study was to determine whether SGX202 could improve survival and GI recovery after TBI using a well-established GARS dog model. Six dogs were exposed to TBI (12 Gy administered at 70 cGy/min), and then given autologous bone marrow and SGX202 with supportive care; four dogs were used as controls and not treated with SGX202. Autologous bone marrow was given to reduce the duration and impact of the radiation-induced hematopoietic syndrome and allow for a focus on measures to treat the GI effects of TBI. SGX202 was administered two hours after TBI and daily until GI recovery (up to day 100 post exposure). Median survival post exposure in the control group was 8 days, compared to greater than 100 days in the SGX202 treated group. These results demonstrate that SGX202 has the potential to reduce the local inflammation in the radiation damaged gastrointestinal (Gl) tract. Analysis of the full dataset from this study remains ongoing and is anticipated to be published in a peer reviewed journal.

The study was supported by a $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and was conducted by George Georges, MD, Associate Member of the Clinical Research Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

“These preliminary results suggest that SGX202 may significantly improve survival from GARS,” stated Dr. Georges. “SGX202 may potentially inhibit the cellular and innate immune mechanisms within the gut mucosa that exaggerate mucosal damage, and improve GI recovery after radiation. In the challenging area of radiation injury, the study met its primary objective in protecting dogs from GARS and extending their survival. We are completing our analysis of the data so that we may extend our investigations of SGX202 in GI recovery after radiation exposure and build upon these promising results.”

“The current dog model of GARS used by Dr. Georges appears to be a robust model for studying the supportive care needs after TBI and for evaluating countermeasures for improving survival after TBI,” stated Robert N. Brey, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of Soligenix. “These results are encouraging and suggest that SGX202 may be an effective post exposure therapy for acute radiation syndrome. Further, these findings support the active pharmacology of oral BDP and may have positive implications for the ongoing NCI-supported Phase 1/2 clinical study in radiation enteritis. We believe that these promising results merit further investigation and potential government funding of radiation injury in the Defense sector.”

About Radiation Injury

The potential occurrence of industrial and medical radiation accidents and the threat of terrorist events involving radioactive material mandate the development and implementation of effective treatments of radiation injury. The GI tract is highly sensitive to radiation damage. Substantial injury to the GI tract after radiation exposure results in death. In most radiation scenarios, injury to the hematopoietic system and gastrointestinal tract are the main determinants of survival. There is an urgent need to develop specific countermeasures against the lethality caused by intestinal exposure to radiation and against the pathophysiological manifestations of radiation-induced gastrointestinal injury.

About Soligenix, Inc.

Soligenix, Inc. (Soligenix) is a late-stage biopharmaceutical company developing products to treat life-threatening side effects of cancer treatments and serious gastrointestinal diseases, and vaccines for certain bioterrorism agents. Soligenix’s lead product, orBec® (oral beclomethasone dipropionate), is a potent, locally acting corticosteroid being developed for the treatment of acute gastrointestinal Graft-versus-Host disease (GI GVHD), a common and potentially life-threatening complication of hematopoietic cell transplantation. orBec® is currently the subject of a $1.2M FDA Orphan Products Grant-supported confirmatory Phase 3 clinical trial for the treatment of acute GI GVHD. Soligenix is also conducting a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-supported Phase 1/2 clinical trial of SGX201 in the prevention of acute radiation enteritis. Additionally, Soligenix has a Lipid Polymer Micelle (LPM(TM)) drug delivery technology for the oral delivery of leuprolide for the treatment of prostate cancer and endometriosis.

Through its Biodefense Division, Soligenix is developing biomedical countermeasures pursuant to the Project BioShield Act of 2004. Soligenix’s lead biodefense product in development is a recombinant subunit vaccine called RiVax(TM), which is designed to protect against the lethal effects of exposure to ricin toxin. RiVax(TM) has been shown to be well tolerated and immunogenic in a Phase 1 clinical trial in normal volunteers. RiVax(TM) is also the subject of a $9.4 million NIAID grant received by the Company supporting development of new heat stable vaccines.

For further information regarding Soligenix, Inc., please visit the Company’s website at www.soligenix.com.

This press release contains forward-looking statements that reflect Soligenix, Inc.’s current expectations about its future results, performance, prospects and opportunities. Statements that are not historical facts, such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “intends,” or similar expressions, are forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results in future periods to differ materially from what is expressed in, or implied by, these statements. Soligenix cannot assure you that it will be able to successfully develop or commercialize products based on its technology, including orBec®, SGX201, RiVax(TM), and LPM(TM), particularly in light of the significant uncertainty inherent in developing vaccines against bioterror threats, manufacturing and conducting preclinical and clinical trials of vaccines, and obtaining regulatory approvals, that its cash expenditures will not exceed projected levels, that product development and commercialization efforts will not be reduced or discontinued due to difficulties or delays in clinical trials or due to lack of progress or positive results from research and development efforts, that it will be able to successfully obtain any further grants and awards, maintain its existing grants which are subject to performance, enter into any biodefense procurement contracts with the US Government or other countries, that the US Congress may not pass any legislation that would provide additional funding for the Project BioShield program, that it will be able to patent, register or protect its technology from challenge and products from competition or maintain or expand its license agreements with its current licensors, or that its business strategy will be successful. Important factors which may affect the future use of orBec® for gastrointestinal GVHD include the risks that: the FDA’s requirement that Soligenix conduct additional clinical trials to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of orBec® will take a significant amount of time and money to complete and positive results leading to regulatory approval cannot be assumed; Soligenix is dependent on the expertise, effort, priorities and contractual obligations of third parties in the clinical trials, manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution of its products; orBec® may not gain market acceptance if it is eventually approved by the FDA; and others may develop technologies or products superior to orBec®. Factors affecting the development and use of SGX201 and LPM(TM) are similar to those affecting orBec®. These and other factors are described from time to time in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, but not limited to, Soligenix’s reports on Forms 10-Q and 10-K. Unless required by law, Soligenix assumes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements as a result of new information or future events.

SOURCE Soligenix, Inc.


Source: newswire