Isotechnika Pharma's NICAM Compounds Demonstrate Positive Anti-Hepatitis C Virus Activity in Secondary Level Testing at NIH-Funded Labs

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| Source: Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc.

EDMONTON, Alberta, Dec. 6, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Isotechnika Pharma Inc. (TSX:ISA) ("Isotechnika" or the "Company") is pleased to announce positive anti-hepatitis C virus ("HCV") results from the second round of in vitro testing of its cyclophilin antagonist molecules ("NICAMs"). Contractors funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases ("NIAID"), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health ("NIH"), carried out the testing.

Several NICAM compounds were tested for cross genotype activity using quantitative polymerase chain reaction in HCV replicons, as well as combinatorial effects with alpha interferon using a luciferase reporter assay. Results demonstrate that the NICAMs are highly active (low nanomolar potency) against HCV genotypes, 1 and 2, which represent approximately 85% of the HCV infections globally. Direct-acting HCV anti-viral drugs currently on the market are approved only for genotype 1 infections. Testing also revealed that the NICAM compounds acted synergistically with alpha interferon, the current standard of care treatment, in reducing viral activity. The presence of synergistic activity means that significantly lower drug doses may be possible, thereby limiting the adverse events associated with interferon treatment. These findings support the view that NICAMs will broaden the therapeutic treatment window by complementing other classes of HCV drugs in development.

"The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 150 million people are chronically infected with HCV, and more than 350,000 people die every year from HCV-related liver diseases," commented Isotechnika's President and CEO, Dr. Robert Foster. "Despite improvements in treatment, significant unmet medical need still exists. The current standard of care does not work for everyone and can produce problematic side effects, which at times may lead to the discontinuation of treatment. We are excited that these positive testing results will allow us to begin preclinical development of those NICAMs with the best potential to expand orally administered HCV treatment options for a broader population of patients."

About the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

NIAID conducts and supports research - at NIH, throughout the United States and worldwide - to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health

The NIH, American's medical research agency, includes 27 institutes and centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary U.S. federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

About NICAMs

NICAMs are an emerging novel class of multifunctional drugs showing promise as antiviral, anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective agents. NICAMs inhibit cellular molecules called cyclophilins, and have garnered considerable attention as a novel treatment for a wide range of cyclophilin-mediated conditions. This includes treatment of infectious diseases through the ability of NICAMs to inhibit viral replication. 

About Isotechnika Pharma Inc.

Isotechnika Pharma Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company advancing a late-stage immunosuppressive drug, voclosporin, which offers key safety advantages over currently available calcinuerin inhibitors; a market estimated to be US$3 billion worldwide. Its earlier stage pipeline focuses on inhibition of various cyclophilins and the company is currently working on lead optimization in collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) and the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Isotechnika Pharma Inc. trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "ISA". More information on Isotechnika Pharma can be found at www.isotechnika.com or www.sedar.com.

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For further information:

Dr. Robert Foster
President & CEO
780-487-1600 (x247)


Dr. Launa Aspeslet
Chief Operating Officer
780-487-1600 (x225)


Stephen Kilmer
President
Kilmer Lucas Inc.
647.872.4849