ZIOPHARM Announces FDA Acceptance of IND for Oral Palifosfamide

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| Source: ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc.

NEW YORK, Feb. 6, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc. (Nasdaq:ZIOP), a biopharmaceutical company with small molecule and synthetic biology approaches to new cancer therapies, announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted its investigational new drug (IND) application for the oral dosing of palifosfamide (Zymafos® or ZIO-201), a form of administration offering several potential patient-oriented advantages and an outpatient treatment for expanded global commercial reach.

Palifosfamide is a novel DNA cross-linker in class with bendamustine, ifosfamide, and cyclophosphamide. In preclinical study it has been shown to bypass resistance mediated by aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), in addition to conferring a favorable toxicity profile compared to other in-class agents. An intravenous (IV) form is currently being evaluated in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled Phase 3 trial for the treatment of metastatic soft tissue sarcoma in the front-line setting (PICASSO 3) and completing a Phase 1 study in solid tumors, including small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Palifosfamide is entering into an adaptive Phase 3 trial in extensive SCLC expected to initiate in the second half of 2012. Clinical study with the oral form, tested preclinically in multiple tumor types, is expected to follow.

"An oral formulation of palifosfamide provides us with a broader range of development options," stated Jonathan Lewis, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of ZIOPHARM. "Oral administration could be ideal for treating children with cancer and for allowing outpatient treatment, particularly in emerging markets where IV hospital administration is either not practical, cost-effective, or even possible."

About ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc.:

ZIOPHARM Oncology is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development and commercialization of small molecule and synthetic biology approaches to new cancer therapies. The Company's clinical programs include:

Palifosfamide (Zymafos® or ZIO-201) is a novel DNA cross-linker that in preclinical study has been shown to bypass resistance mediated by aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), in addition to conferring a favorable toxicity profile compared to other in-class agents. Palifosfamide, administered intravenously, is currently in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled Phase 3 trial for the treatment of metastatic soft tissue sarcoma in the front-line setting. The Company is also currently completing a Phase 1 study of palifosfamide in combination with standard of care for addressing small cell lung cancer; an investigational new drug application has been accepted for the oral form of palifosfamide.

DNA-based therapeutics (synthetic biology), in partnership with Intrexon Corporation, include two clinical-stage product candidates, both of which are DNA IL-12 using the RheoSwitch Therapeutic System® to be turned on/off by an oral activator ligand and are currently in Phase 1. Additionally, multiple INDs are expected in the next 12-24 months resulting from preclinical and discovery work underway to advance multiple antibody, immunotoxin, and protein decoy candidates, systemic delivery and a next generation RheoSwitch Therapeutic System®.

Indibulin (Zybulin™ or ZIO-301) is a novel, oral tubulin binding agent that is expected to have several potential benefits including oral dosing, application in multi-drug resistant tumors, no neuropathy and a quite tolerable toxicity profile. It is currently being studied in Phase 1/2 in metastatic breast cancer.

Darinaparsin (Zinapar® or ZIO-101) is a novel mitochondrial- and hedgehog-targeted agent (organic arsenic) currently in a solid tumor Phase 1 study with oral administration and has been developed intravenously for the treatment of relapsed peripheral T-cell lymphoma.

ZIOPHARM's operations are located in Boston, MA, Germantown, MD and New York City. Further information about ZIOPHARM may be found at www.ziopharm.com.

Forward-Looking Safe Harbor Statement:

This press release contains certain forward-looking information about ZIOPHARM Oncology that is intended to be covered by the safe harbor for "forward-looking statements" provided by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts. Words such as "expect(s)," "feel(s)," "believe(s)," "will," "may," "anticipate(s)" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding our ability to successfully develop and commercialize our therapeutic products; our ability to expand our long-term business opportunities; financial projections and estimates and their underlying assumptions; and future performance. All of such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of the Company, that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by, the forward-looking information and statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: whether Palifosfamide, Darinaparsin, Indibulin, or any of our other therapeutic products will advance further in the clinical trials process and whether and when, if at all, they will receive final approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or equivalent foreign regulatory agencies and for which indications; whether Palifosfamide, Darinaparsin, Indibulin, and our other therapeutic products will be successfully marketed if approved; whether our DNA-based biotherapeutics discovery and development efforts will be successful; our ability to achieve the results contemplated by our collaboration agreements; the strength and enforceability of our intellectual property rights; competition from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies; the development of and our ability to take advantage of the market for DNA-based biotherapeutics; our ability to raise additional capital to fund our operations on terms acceptable to us; general economic conditions; and the other risk factors contained in our periodic and interim SEC reports including but not limited to our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010, our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2011, and our Current Reports on Form 8-K filed from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements that speak only as of the date hereof, and we do not undertake any obligation to revise and disseminate forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof, or to reflect the occurrence of or non-occurrence of any events.

Zymafos and Zinapar are registered trademarks of ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc.

For ZIOPHARM:
Tyler Cook
ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc.
617-259-1982


Media:
David Pitts
Argot Partners
212-600-1902