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Fox Chase Cancer Center and Wilex Awarded First Biotechnology Clinical Partnership Grant from Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program

PHILADELPHIA (September 4, 2003) — Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pa., and Wilex AG, Munich, Germany, have been awarded the first Biotechnology Clinical Partnership Award worth $3.9 million from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Breast Cancer Research Program. The award will support two clinical trials of an investigational agent developed by Wilex (WX-UK1) for use in patients with advanced breast cancer.

This is the first Biotechnology Clinical Partnership Award to be awarded by the U.S. D.O.D. Breast Cancer Research Program. The goal of this award is to establish partnerships between the biotechnology industry and academic institutions that will accelerate the clinical development of novel therapeutic or chemoprevention compounds.

According to the DOD, to receive the Biotechnology Clinical Partnership Award, one partner must have the expertise in drug development and a promising innovative breast cancer therapeutic ready for clinical trials in humans. The other partner should have the expertise and the means to direct clinical trials and to accrue an appropriate number of patients.

"Fox Chase's partnership with Wilex allows us to study a unique approach to treating breast cancer using a novel agent," explained Lori J. Goldstein, MD, director of Fox Chase's Breast Evaluation Center and leader of the Breast Cancer Research Program at Fox Chase. "We are grateful to the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program for providing the funding to make this partnership possible. I think we can expect to identify effective breast cancer treatments more quickly because of strong relationships between the biotechnology industry and clinical investigators."

Olaf G. Wilhelm, MD, chief executive officer of Wilex said, "It is a great honor for Wilex to receive this prestigious award from the US Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program. Our compound, WX-UK1, is focused upon a biologic target directly connected to cancer pathogenesis and offers a new and non-cytotoxic mechanism of action. We are extremely proud that with Fox Chase Cancer Center we have a highly experienced and acknowledged partner ambitious to carry out the clinical development of WX-UK1 in the US with us."

Background on WX-UK1 (as provided by Wilex)

WX-UK1, a novel non-cytotoxic drug candidate, is being developed for the anti-metastatic investigational treatment of patients with breast cancer and other solid tumors. WX-UK1 is a synthetic small molecule inhibitor of serine proteases and the Urokinase-type Plasminogen Activator (uPA) system, which have been shown to play a key role in metastasis and primary tumor growth of solid cancers including breast, gastric, and colon cancer. In pre-clinical studies, WX-UK1 significantly reduced metastasis formation and primary tumor growth. In a clinical Phase Ia trial of healthy volunteers conducted in Germany, WX-UK1 was safe and well tolerated at all doses tested. WX-UK1 is currently being tested as a single agent in a Phase I/II trial in cancer patients in Germany. In May 2003, Wilex obtained an IND (Investigational New Drug) approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the clinical development of WX-UK1 in the U.S.

Background on Wilex AG

Wilex is a privately held biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of novel cancer therapies for the treatment of various tumors including renal cell cancer, breast, gastric, and colon cancer. Therapies are tailored to the individual needs of cancer patient subpopulations in order to provide effective and well-tolerated treatment. Wilex has three products in clinical trials and six in pre-clinical research. The Company has two therapeutic platforms, antibody-based and small molecule-based therapies. Wilex was founded in 1997 by clinical oncologists of Technical University of Munich. For further information please visit: www.wilex.com.

Background on the U.S. Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program

The Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) is a biomedical research program that is part of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and Army budget submission. The BCRP was established in FY92 with the overall goal to promote research directed toward eradicating breast cancer. The Congressional appropriation for the FY03 BCRP is $150 million. The Department of Defense awards grants as part of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (http://cdmrp.army.mil), which administers funds for peer-reviewed research directed toward specific diseases and supports research that positively impacts the health and well-being of all Americans. For further information please visit http://cdmrp.army.mil.


Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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