Medivir: Advances in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Research Program

Huddinge, SWEDEN

HUDDINGE, Sweden, Nov. 21, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- Medivir (Huddinge, Sweden) and one of China's largest pharmaceutical companies, Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Company (Shanghai), instigated a two year research collaboration in December 2003 to develop protease inhibitors against chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Pivotal advances have been made and important milestones achieved in the project. Medivir and Hengrui have therefore elected to extend their research collaboration for developing drugs against COPD.

The project is based on Medivir's COPD protease inhibitor program, screening systems and enabling technologies, combined with Hengrui's acknowledged expertise in medicinal chemistry. Efficacy studies in specific preclinical test models will now be undertaken with drug-like compounds developed within the collaboration. Presuming that the coming efficacy data from these test models is positive, the next stage of the project will be entry into the preclinical lead optimization phase with the aim of selecting one or more candidate drugs (CDs).

The agreement provides that pharmaceuticals resulting from the partnership are commercialized in China by Hengrui, and in the rest of the world by Medivir. There are a number of lead compounds amenable to further development, which allows for different strategies in the various markets.

COPD is a group of syndromes characterized by constriction of the airways, the accumulation of mucous and inflammation, leading to breathing difficulties. The disease arises primarily amongst smokers. COPD includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and in certain cases asthma. COPD is currently the fourth most common cause of death in the USA. In China, respiratory disorders are the fourth most common cause of death in the cities and the most common source of fatality in rural areas. There are currently no satisfactory treatments for COPD.

The Medivir Group

Medivir is an innovative, specialist research company that develops drugs with the objective of becoming a sustaining, profitable pharmaceuticals company. Medivir is located in Huddinge, Sweden and at Chesterford Research Park, Essex, U.K.

Medivir's research is oriented on developing new drug compounds based on polymerases and proteases as target enzymes. The group consists of Medivir AB, its subsidiary Medivir UK Ltd. and Medivir Personal AB. As of 30 September 2005, the group had 129 employees. Medivir was listed on the Stockholm Exchange O-list in 1996.

Medivir's research portfolio includes projects against HIV, jaundice, shingles, cold sores, osteoporosis, RA (rheumatoid arthritis), asthma and MS (multiple sclerosis). Medivir has five projects in clinical development phases, each with a unique clinical profile. The company's broad-based preclinical research portfolio houses six defined projects and nearly ten activities in various preclinical phases.

Medivir AB (publ), Lunastigen 7, 141 44 Huddinge, Sweden, tel (switchboard): +46 (0)8 546 83100

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