July 17, 2007 - Gaithersburg, Maryland - Panacea Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced today that LC Detect®, the Company's serum-based lung cancer diagnostic test, is now available from Panacea Laboratories. LC Detect® is a simple blood test which should facilitate the identification of lung cancer, even among individuals with early-stage disease. Panacea Laboratories, a division of Panacea Pharmaceuticals, is certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA). The blood sample can be ordered by any physician and sent to Panacea for testing; sample and shipping requirements are available at www.panacea-labs.com.
Lung cancer accounts for the highest number of cancer deaths worldwide, in both men and women. An estimated 213,380 new cases of cancer involving the lung or bronchus are expected in the U.S. in 2007, accounting for about 15 percent of total cancer diagnoses. An estimated 160,390 deaths, accounting for about 29 percent of all cancer deaths, are expected to occur in 2007. Since 1987, more women have died each year from lung cancer than from breast cancer. Lung cancer was the third most common cancer for men and the fifth most common cancer for women in Japan in 2000. The five-year survival rate for lung cancer is only 15 percent. Survival rates for individuals in whom lung cancer is detected at an early stage while it remains localized are as high as 50 percent. Current screening and detection methods rely on imaging modalities, primarily chest x-ray and CT scanning. However, chest x-ray is not sufficiently sensitive and CT scanning is expensive with only a moderate improvement in sensitivity. Newer tests, such as low-dose spiral computed tomography scans and molecular markers in sputum have not proven to be useful to date.
LC Detect® measures levels of human aspartyl (asparaginyl) _-hydroxylase (HAAH), a cancer molecular marker, in blood. HAAH has been detected by immunohistochemical staining in a broad range of cancers, including lung cancer, and has been shown to be highly specific and absent in adjacent non-affected tissue as well as tissue from cancer-free individuals. In addition, HAAH protein levels in serum have been demonstrated to be highly sensitive and specific for cancer in hundreds of patients with a range of cancer types, including lung cancer. Panacea has found increased levels of HAAH in the serum of 99 percent of patients with lung cancer (n=160), including those with early-stage disease. In individuals not known to have cancer, HAAH was essentially undetectable in serum (n=93, specificity = 91 percent). In a population of 50 smokers not known to have cancer the mean serum HAAH level was 0 ng/ml.
"Identification of elevated serum HAAH protein levels using LC Detect®, in conjunction with chest x-ray, CT scanning and other imaging modalities, should greatly facilitate the identification of individuals with lung cancer at an earlier stage when treatment may lead to improved outcomes and survival," commented Pamela Jo Harris, MD, Vice President, Medical and Clinical Affairs at Panacea. "We are confident that LC Detect® will help internists, family practitioners, and pulmonologists more effectively screen individuals at high risk of developing lung cancer."
About Panacea's Oncology Platform
In addition to LC Detectsm, Panacea offers, PC Detect®, a diagnostic test used in conjunction with PSA and digital rectal exam to identify patients with prostate cancer, and TK Sensesm, which determines whether white blood cells from patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) are sensitive or resistant to imatinib, the therapy of first choice for CML patients, prior to initiation of therapy.
The HAAH serum assay will be further developed as a diagnostic test for other types of cancer. Panacea is also pursuing the development of antibodies directed against HAAH as novel agents for the treatment of cancer with liver cancer as the first therapeutic indication. The Company is exploring both naked anti-HAAH antibodies as well as HAAH antibodies conjugated to chemotherapeutic agents and toxins.
About Panacea Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Panacea Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of therapeutics and diagnostics for diseases with substantial, unmet clinical needs. The Company's product development strategy is based on novel therapeutic agents and approaches for cancer treatment, as well as acute and chronic neurodegenerative conditions, such as hypoxia-induced neurological insult, Parkinson's Disease, and Alzheimer's Disease. Panacea has an extensive patent portfolio covering its neurodegenerative and oncology technologies. Panacea Laboratories is a division of Panacea Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
More information about the Company is available at www.PanaceaPharma.com.
Except for historical information presented in this press release, matters discussed herein may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management only as of the date of this release and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from any future results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. Factors that might cause such a difference include, but are not limited to, uncertainties related to our access to capital, the progress, costs, and results of any clinical trials undertaken by us, progress of our research and development projects, and uncertainties related to whether our product candidates would ultimately achieve commercial success. We do not undertake any obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise unless required by law.
Panacea Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Stephen N. Keith, MD, MSPH
President & COO
Phone 240-243-8000; FAX 240-465-0450