MORPHOTEK, INC. ACQUIRES TUMOR TARGETING ASSETS FROM TRANSMOLECULAR, INC.Platform Technology Complements Morphotek's Antibody Targeting Technologies and Therapeutic Antibody Platform

Eisai Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Tokyo, President & CEO: Haruo Naito, “Eisai”) announced today that its U.S. subsidiary Morphotek, Inc. has acquired certain assets relating to a proprietary tumor targeting platform from TransMolecular, Inc. (Headquarters: United States, Representative: Robert Radie, “TMI”), a biotechnology company headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Through use of the tumor targeting peptide (TTP) platform, it is possible to deliver active TTP conjugates directly to tumor cells via systemic administration of radionucleotides, chemotoxins, nanoparticles and optical dyes, which enables optical imaging to confirm therapeutic effects. This transaction provides Eisai exclusive ownership of the TTP technology for therapeutic and diagnostic use across a broad spectrum of cancers and other human diseases.

The TTP technology platform has been validated in multiple preclinical and human clinical trials that have demonstrated the ability to get tumor specific delivery of conjugated TTP to tumors of the periphery and the central nervous system via penetration across the blood brain barrier. The technology is also capable of being combined with a number of proprietary cytotoxic/cytostatic entities that have already been tested for safety and efficacy as TTP conjugates in preclinical. TMI's TTP is a peptide that was originally derived from scorpion venom during screening to identify potential new anti-cancer agents. The peptide binds and internalizes into cells via the annexin A2 complex, which is mainly present on the cell surface, thereby suppressing the growth of activated epithelial cells. As annexin A2 is often overexpressed on malignant cell surface compared to normal cell, studies have found the peptide to provide tumor-specificity1), 2).

Eisai is committed to pursuing access to new cutting-edge technologies that will enable the company to support its future pipeline objectives as it strives to develop highly innovative medicines. The acquisition of the TMI tumor targeting platform is yet another important step in enabling the development of disease-specific compounds that can target disease cells and/or treat the underlying cause of a targeted disease.

Eisai's commitment to meaningful progress in oncology research, built on scientific expertise, is supported by a global capability to conduct discovery and preclinical research, and develop small molecules, biologic and supportive care agents for cancer across multiple indications. Through these efforts, Eisai will make further contributions to addressing the diversified needs of and increasing the benefits provided to patients and their families as well as healthcare professionals as it seeks to fulfill its human health care (hhc) mission.

[ Please refer to the following notes on TransMolecular, Inc., Morphotek, Inc., and overview of Eisai Oncology ]

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Eisai Co., Ltd.

< Notes to editors >

1. About TransMolecular, Inc.

Founded in 1996 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, TransMolecular, Inc. is a U.S.-based bioventure committed to discovering, developing and commercializing products for the diagnosis and treatment of glioma, metastatic brain tumors, and other cancers. Its product pipeline is based on the therapeutically active TM601, a novel polypeptide with tumor-targeting and anti-angiogenic effects derived from scorpion venom.

2. About Morphotek, Inc.

Morphotek, Inc., a subsidiary of Eisai Inc., is a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of protein and antibody products through the use of a novel and proprietary gene evolution technology. The company is currently focusing its platform on the development and manufacturing of proteins for the treatment of cancer, inflammation and infectious disease.

3. Overview of Eisai Oncology

Eisai oncology consists of 1) Oncology PCU (Product Creation Unit), 2) Morphotek, Inc. and 3) H3 Biomedicine Inc. The relationship and research focuses of these functions are shown below.

  1. 1)
    C.A. Grimes et al, TM-601 targets human cancer cells via a phosphatidylinositol phosphate in lamellipodia
    J Clin Oncol (Meeting Abstracts) June 2005 Vol. 23 No. 16_suppl 9556.
  2. 2)
    Kamala Kesavan et al, Annexin A2 Is a Molecular Target for TM601, a Peptide with Tumor-targeting and Anti-angiogenic Effects, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 285, 4366-4374