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Xenova Group PLC (XEN)

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Monday 17 December, 2001

Xenova Group PLC

Re Alliance

Xenova Group PLC
17 December 2001

                                                         For Immediate Release



Xenova Group plc



 Xenova grants topoisomerase programme North American license to Millennium





Slough, UK, and Cambridge, Mass, 17 December 2001 - Xenova Group plc (NASDAQ:
XNVA; London Stock Exchange: XEN) and Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc (NASDAQ:
MLNM), today announced that the companies have signed a license agreement for
the development and North American commercialisation of Xenova's novel
compounds, which have a unique mechanism of action including dual inhibition
of topoisomerase I and II, for the treatment of solid tumours in cancer. The
programme includes three molecules: XR11576, XR5944 and XR11612.  XR11576 is
an oral agent that has entered Phase I clinical development with the first
patients screened for study entry. The two additional compounds are in
preclinical development.



Under the terms of the agreement, Millennium will acquire development and
exclusive marketing rights to the topoisomerase program in North America in
exchange for an upfront payment of US$11.5m (£7.8m) as well as future
milestone payments and royalties following the achievement of specific
development and sales goals. Xenova retains commercialisation rights for all
products arising from this topoisomerase collaboration outside the United
States, Canada and Mexico, including marketing in Europe and the rest of the
world. Xenova will retain responsibility for performing development activities
associated with the programme, which will be funded by Millennium commencing
in 2003, to the end of Phase II clinical trials. Thereafter, Millennium will
assume responsibility for subsequent development activities in North America
and Xenova will retain development activity responsibility for the rest of the
world. Additionally, Millennium has the right to market in North America any
improvements or additional products based on the same topoisomerase inhibitor
technology, in which case Xenova will receive further milestones and royalties
on the sales of such products. Additional terms of the agreement were not
disclosed.



'We are delighted to announce this collaboration with Millennium, a strong
North American partner with both a commitment to pursuing oncology as a core
franchise area and a deep existing oncology pipeline,' said David Oxlade,
Chief Executive Officer of Xenova. 'Today's agreement gives us an excellent
development and marketing partner, potentially provides us with future
milestone payments and royalties which are significant for our business and
allows us to retain substantial rights to the programme outside North America.
'



'We have been impressed by the potential presented by Xenova's compounds and
believe this is a novel and exciting mechanism of action that falls into a
proven class of therapies, but more importantly, as suggested by the dramatic
activity in in vivo models, may have additional undiscovered mechanisms that
are synergistic with cellular pathways that are part of Millennium's ongoing
research effort,' said John Maraganore, Ph.D., senior vice president,
strategic product development at Millennium. 'Millennium continues to build a
significant portfolio of cutting-edge cancer therapeutics through a
combination of internally-derived, in-licensed and acquired products and
capabilities. We believe this latest collaboration has potential to complement
our lead oncology programme, LDP-341, and we plan to move these molecules
forward aggressively.'



                                    -ends-



                                   Contacts


Xenova Group plc                                  Financial Dynamics

David Oxlade, Chief Executive Officer             David Yates/Fiona Noblet
Daniel Abrams, Finance Director                   Tel: +44(0) 207 831 3113
Hilary Reid Evans, Head of Corporate
Communications
Tel: +44 (0) 1753 706600

BMC Communications                                Millennium Pharmaceuticals
                                                  Inc

Brad Miles (Ext 17)                               Gina Brazier (investor)
Lauren Tortorete (Ext 20)                         Tel: (001) 617 551 3611
Tel: 001 212 477 9007                             Adriana Jenkins (media)
                                                  Tel: (001) 617 761 6996





A presentation and conference call for analysts will be held at the offices of
Nomura International plc, 1 St. Martin's Le Grand, London EC1 at 10.00am (UK
time) today.  Please call Mo Noonan for conference call details on 
020 7269 7116.





Notes to Editors



Topoisomerases are enzymes which are critically involved in the replication of
DNA during the process of cell division and which therefore play a key role in
the proliferation of cancer cells.  Topoisomerase inhibitors comprise a major
class of cytotoxic anti-cancer agent that is widely used to treat cancer
patients. Topoisomerases I and II are ubiquitous, well-characterized enzymes
that are responsible for DNA topology and are essential for DNA replication.
Inhibition of these enzymes blocks cell division and leads to apoptosis, or
cell death. Several widely used anticancer agents target topoisomerases,
including irinotecan, topotecan, doxorubicin and etoposide. Topoisomerase
inhibitors are used to treat a number of different tumour types; camptothecins
(topoisomerase I inhibitors) for colorectal cancer; anthracyclines
(topoisomerase II inhibitors) for breast, ovarian, bladder cancer and NHL;
etoposide (topoisomerase II inhibitor) for lung cancer.



Given the differing roles and expression of the two types of enzymes within
the cell cycle, inhibitors of both topoisomerase I and topoisomerase II (dual
inhibitors) are expected to have potentially significant therapeutic advantage
over agents targeting one type of topoisomerase alone. In addition, dual
inhibitors may circumvent mechanisms of drug resistance and may also have a
broader spectrum of activity as expression levels of the two enzymes are
variable between different types of cancers, as suggested by Xenova's
preclinical data for the topoisomerase programme.



Xenova's Topoisomerase Programme: Xenova's topoisomerase programme includes
three molecules known as XR11576, XR5944 and XR11612.  In preclinical studies
XR11576 has shown a significantly improved biological profile when compared
with first generation dual topoisomerase I and II inhibitors, including oral
bioavailability and a marked enhancement of potency.  Oral administration
offers significant commercial and treatment cost advantages over products
which are only parenterally administrable. In preclinical studies XR5944 has
demonstrated exceptional activity against human and murine tumour cell lines.
XR5944 has been shown to induce tumour regression in the majority of cases in
a model considered to be relatively unresponsive to chemotherapy.  In a
further preclinical model, low doses of XR5944 induced complete tumour
regression in the majority of cases and was more effective in this respect
than certain currently marketed topoisomerase inhibitors. In preclinical
studies XR11612 was shown to have significant antitumour efficacy against
certain cancer disease models.



The three dual topoisomerase inhibitors are thought to result in DNA damage in
cells, activating the pathways that lead to apoptotic cell death in tumour
cells. Millennium is investigating LDP-341 (see below), which also works to
interrupt the apoptotic pathways, allowing for potential synergies between the
two oncology programmes.



Xenova Group plc's product pipeline focuses principally on the therapeutic
areas of cancer, infectious and autoimmune diseases.  Xenova currently has a
broad pipeline of eight products in clinical development.  Xenova's lead
programme is a P-glycoprotein antagonist for the treatment of multi-drug
resistance in cancer, known as tariquidar or XR9576.  Tariquidar has completed
a successful series of three Phase IIa clinical trials and is expected to
enter Phase III clinical development in the first half of 2002.  Tariquidar
was partnered for the North American market with QLT Inc in August 2001. The
Group has a well-established track record in the identification, development
and partnering of innovative products and technologies and has partnerships
with other major pharmaceutical companies including Lilly, Pfizer and
Celltech.



For further information about Xenova and its products please visit the Xenova
website at www.xenova.co.uk



Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Millennium, a leading biopharmaceutical
company, applies its comprehensive and integrated science and technology
platform for the discovery and development of breakthrough therapeutic and
predictive medicine products, with a goal of delivering personalized medicine.
Through the industrialization of this gene-to-patient platform, Millennium is
also striving to accelerate the process of drug discovery and development.
Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Millennium currently employs more
than 1,500 people.



Millennium's Oncology Franchise Millennium has committed to pursuing oncology
as a core franchise area, dedicating significant resources and capabilities in
the areas of technology, scientific expertise and strategic business
development. To this end, Millennium has already produced a deep oncology
pipeline that ranges from multiple novel targets to commercialized therapeutic
and diagnostic products. Among the most advanced clinical compounds is
LDP-341, a proteasome inhibitor that is currently is in phase II trials for
multiple myeloma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and in phase I trials for a
variety of solid tumors including colon, breast, pancreatic and prostate
cancers. Millennium's oncology pipeline also includes an anti-PSMA antibody
currently in phase I clinical trials for advanced prostate cancer, and
guanylyl cyclase C (GC-C), a protein uniquely expressed on the cell surface of
colorectal tumors, and its related ST ligand. The CAMPATHa (alemtuzumab)
monoclonal antibody, a therapeutic developed from a joint venture of
Millennium, is on the market in both the United States and a number of
European countries. A Millennium alliance partner and licensee is in the
process of developing and commercializing Melastatina, a melastatin detection
product developed through Millennium's predictive medicine efforts.



For further information about Millennium please visit Millennium's website at
www.millennium.com.



For Xenova: Disclaimer to take advantage of the 'Safe Harbor' provisions of
the US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. This press release
contains 'forward-looking statements,' including statements about the
discovery, development and commercialisation of products. Various risks may
cause Xenova's actual results to differ materially from those expressed or
implied by the forward looking statements, including: adverse results in our
drug discovery and clinical development programs; failure to obtain patent
protection for our discoveries; commercial limitations imposed by patents
owned or controlled by third parties; our dependence upon strategic alliance
partners to develop and commercialise products and services; difficulties or
delays in obtaining regulatory approvals to market products and services
resulting from our development efforts; the requirement for substantial
funding to conduct research and development and to expand commercialisation
activities; and product initiatives by competitors.  For a further list and
description of the risks and uncertainties we face, see the reports we have
filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  We disclaim any intention
or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a
result of new information, future events or otherwise.



For Millennium: This press release contains 'forward-looking statements,'
including statements about our growth and future operating results, discovery
and development of products, potential acquisitions, strategic alliances and
intellectual property.  Various risks may cause Millennium's actual results to
differ materially, including: adverse results in our drug discovery and
clinical development processes; failure to obtain patent protection for our
discoveries; commercial limitations imposed by patents owned or controlled by
third parties; our dependence upon strategic alliance partners to develop and
commercialize products and services based on our work; difficulties or delays
in obtaining regulatory approvals to market products and services resulting
from our development efforts; and the requirement for substantial funding to
conduct research and development and to expand commercialization activities.
For a further list and description of the risks and uncertainties we face, see
the reports we have filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  We
disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking
statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or
otherwise.