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Thursday 08 April, 2004

XTL Biopharm Ltd

HCV hMAb Patent Granted

XTL Biopharmaceuticals Ltd
08 April 2004


XTLbio Announces Grant of HCV Human Monoclonal Antibody Patent

Patent Covering Antibodies Directed Against Hepatitis C Virus Recently Licensed
from Stanford University

Rehovot, Israel, 8 April 2004 - XTL Biopharmaceuticals Ltd. (XTLbio) announces
the issuance of US Patent No. 6,692,908 (the '908 Patent') entitled, 'Prevention
and treatment of HCV infection employing antibodies that inhibit the interaction
of HCV virions with their receptor'. The patent covers human monoclonal
antibodies (MAbs) directed against the envelope glycoprotein 2 (E2) of the
hepatitis C virus (HCV). The patent was recently licensed from Stanford
University. The MAbs disclosed in the patent include a potent neutralizing
antibody that could potentially enhance XTLbio's treatment candidate, HepeX-C,
and a human monoclonal antibody based product, currently in phase 2 clinical
studies in liver transplant patients. HepeX-C has shown anti-viral activity in
phase 1 studies in chronic HCV patients. In line with XTLbio's previously
announced strategy in HCV liver transplantation, XTLbio intends to submit an IND
for a combination of HepeX-C with one of the newly licensed antibodies later
this year. The addition of a second antibody could increase the potency of the
product by minimizing emergence of viral escape mutants and/or enhancing
anti-viral activity.

'The grant of the '908 Patent' strengthens our intellectual property presence in
the area of human monoclonal antibody therapeutics directed against hepatitis
C,' stated Mirit Lotan, PhD, Senior Director of Patents and Technology
Assessment for XTLbio. 'The '908 Patent' is XTLbio's first issued patent in the
area of HCV antibodies and will provide a strong intellectual property base for
the company's enhanced HepeX-C product in the US'.

The human monoclonal anti HCV antibodies covered by the 908 patent, bind to E2
epitopes common to multiple HCV genotypes. The antibodies were developed in the
laboratory of Dr Steven Foung at Stanford University, and were extensively
evaluated by XTLbio using the Company's proprietary HCV in vitro and in vivo
validation systems to assess anti-viral activity.

Contacts:

XTLbio
Dr. Martin Becker, President and CEO, Tel: +972-8-930-4440

Financial Dynamics
David Yates, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7831 3113

Notes to Editors

About XTLbio
XTL Biopharmaceuticals Ltd. (XTLbio) is a biopharmaceutical company developing
drugs against hepatitis. XTLbio's HepeX(TM) product line - now in clinical
trials - has the potential to introduce revolutionary therapies for viral
hepatitis, including prevention of re-infection in transplanted livers, the
Company's primary focus, and a longer-term cocktail approach in treating chronic
illness. XTLbio believes its primary competitive advantage lies in its patented
Trimera(TM) technology, which enables the development of fully human monoclonal
antibodies and models of human disease for pre-clinical drug validation.
Established in 1993, XTLbio became a public company in 2000 and its shares are
listed on the Official List of the UK Listing Authority and are traded on the
London Stock Exchange under the symbol XTL.

About hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a major public health concern. The World Health Organization
estimates that 170 million people worldwide are chronic carriers of the
hepatitis C virus (HCV) and that 3 to 4 million people are newly infected each
year. It is expected that 25 to 35% of these chronic patients will develop
progressive liver disease including cirrhosis and liver cancer. Hepatitis C is
the single leading cause of liver transplantation. The US Centres for Disease
Control and Prevention estimate that approximately 4 million people in the
United States (almost 2% of the population) have been infected with HCV, of
whom, approximately 3 million are chronically ill. Hepatitis C is the cause of
an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 deaths annually in the US.

About HCV-related liver transplant prophylaxis
Approximately 5% of chronic HCV patients will develop end-stage liver disease,
and ultimately may require liver transplantation. Today, there is a major
problem associated with HCV-related liver transplantation. Although the infected
liver - the major source of viral replication - has been removed, free-floating
virus in the patient's serum re-infects the healthy transplanted liver in a
matter of weeks. Disease progression in re-infected patients is several times
faster and, in many cases, a re-transplant becomes necessary. At present, there
is no available solution to this problem.

About the treatment of chronic hepatitis C
The existing first-line chronic HCV therapy is often associated with a 50-60%
success rate but it is limited by severe side effects, including anaemia,
fatigue, hair loss and depression. Due to the relatively limited efficacy and
toxicity of this treatment, chronic HCV is still considered to be an unmet
medical need, with estimated worldwide annual sales for all products treating
chronic hepatitis C reaching US$4 billion in 2004.

HepeX(TM), Trimera(TM), XTL(TM) and XTLbio(TM) are trademarks of XTL 
Biopharmaceuticals Ltd.


                      This information is provided by RNS
            The company news service from the London Stock Exchange