Information  X 
Enter a valid email address

Xenova Group plc (XEN)

  Print      Mail a friend

Monday 10 January, 2005

Xenova Group plc

Xenova Group plc

Xenova Licenses TA-CIN to Cancer Research Technology

Further Phase II Clinical Trial to Begin Shortly

Slough, UK, 10 January 2005 - Xenova Group plc (NASDAQ: XNVA; London
Stock Exchange: XEN) today announced that it has entered into a
licensing agreement with Cancer Research Technology Limited (CRT) in
respect of Xenova's intellectual property relating to TA-CIN.  TA-CIN
is a vaccine developed by Xenova as a treatment for women with
cervical dysplasia, and has proved safe and immunogenic in Phase I
and Phase II clinical trials.

CRT will facilitate a further Phase II clinical trial to be
undertaken at St. Mary's Hospital Manchester and associated
laboratory studies at the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research in
Manchester to evaluate TA-CIN in combination with an immune modulator
in subjects with vulval intra-epithelial neoplasia (VIN).  This
trial, expected to start shortly, will recruit between 20 and 30
women with known, pre-treated, or newly diagnosed VIN3.  The primary
end point is objective response of vulval intraepithelial lesions to
treatment as well as evaluating safety, toxicity and tolerability of
the combination treatment.

CRT will license TA-CIN patents, know-how and materials from Xenova
and will undertake marketing of TA-CIN to potential commercial
partners with a view to sub-licensing the development and
commercialisation of the product.  Net receipts from the
sub-licensing of TA-CIN will be shared between Xenova and CRT after
certain direct costs have been recouped.

Cervical dysplasia (also known as cervical intra-epithelial
neoplasia, CIN) is one of a group of conditions, including VIN, known
collectively as ano-genital intraepithelial neoplasia (AGIN), which
are precursors to invasive cancers such as cervical cancer.
Infection with certain high risk types of Human Papillomavirus such
as HPV16, is closely associated with these dysplasias and cancers,
which are difficult to treat and have a high recurrence rate.

David Oxlade, Chief Executive Officer of Xenova said: "We are
delighted that the promising TA-CIN vaccine is now progressing into
further Phase II studies through this relationship with CRT.  This
collaboration provides further evidence of the potential value of
Xenova's portfolio of novel cancer drugs."

Dr Keith Blundy, Chief Operating Officer of CRT stated: "We are
pleased to in-license and develop this opportunity from Xenova, which
clearly demonstrates CRT's strategy for expanding our oncology
portfolio and addressing our goal of cancer patient benefit".

Notes to Editors
TA-CIN is a subunit vaccine comprising L2/E6/E7 proteins from Human
Papillomavirus (HPV16), designed to generate a strong cellular immune
response against HPV-infected cells.  The vaccine is targeted at
patients with cervical dysplasia (pre-invasive cervical disease),
thus potentially preventing the onset of invasive cervical cancer.
 The initial product candidate for clinical trials is a genetically
engineered fusion of three proteins from HPV 16 known to play a role
in the progression of cervical disease.  Published data have reported
that tumour cells in more than 90 percent of patients with cervical
cancer contain DNA from the HPV virus, specifically types 16 and 18.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a large family of small DNA viruses
associated with a number of conditions ranging from skin warts and
genital warts to cervical cancer.  Infection with high risk types of
HPV (such as HPV16 and HPV18) is strongly associated with ano-genital
cancer and its precursor AGIN.  These diseases are difficult to treat
and have a high recurrence rate.

The successful results of a Phase I safety and immunogenicity study
for TA-CIN were presented at the 19th International Human
Papillomavirus Conference (September 2001).  In this
placebo-controlled, dose-escalating study, the vaccine was
administered by intramuscular injection to 40 healthy volunteers.
TA-CIN was found to be well tolerated.  No serious adverse events
were reported during the study.  The vaccine was also found to be
immunogenic.  TA-CIN specific antibody responses, and positive T cell
responses were seen in all of the cohorts receiving active vaccine.

In addition, TA-CIN has been evaluated in a prime boost strategy, in
combination with TA-HPV.  Pre-clinical studies, conducted by Xenova
in conjunction with scientists at Leiden University Medical Centre,
The Netherlands, demonstrated that use of TA-CIN together with
TA-HPV, resulted in an immune response that was significantly greater
than that observed with either product alone.  In a subsequent Phase
II prime boost clinical trial conducted at St. Mary's Hospital
Manchester and the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research in
Manchester, both products proved safe and well tolerated, and some
clear clinical responses were demonstrated, even in women with
long-standing disease.

Xenova originally licensed the rights to an L2 patent from CRT but
returned these rights in early 2004 following the rationalisation of
Xenova's patent portfolio following the acquisition of KS Biomedix
Holdings plc.

TA-HPV is an immunotherapeutic vaccine developed for use alongside
surgery in the treatment of cervical cancer and for the treatment of
high-grade AGIN.

Xenova Group plc is a UK-based biopharmaceutical company focused on
the development of novel drugs to treat cancer and addiction with a
secondary focus in immunotherapy.  The Company has a broad pipeline
of products in clinical development, including three cancer
programmes:  its lead product TransMID(TM), for the treatment of
high-grade glioma, is in Phase III trials, and its novel DNA
targeting agents and XR303 are both in Phase I for cancer
indications.  Xenova is also developing two therapeutic vaccines for
cocaine and nicotine addiction, which are in Phase II and Phase I
trials respectively.  Quoted on the London Stock Exchange (XEN) and
on NASDAQ (XNVA), Xenova employs approximately 75 people throughout
its sites in the UK and North America. (Reuters XEN.L; Bloomberg XEN
For further information about Xenova and its products please visit
the Xenova website at and

Cancer Research Technology Limited (CRT) is a specialist technology
transfer company which aims to develop new discoveries in cancer
research for the benefit of cancer patients.  CRT is wholly owned by
Cancer Research UK, the largest independent funder of cancer research
in the world.  CRT works closely with leading international cancer
scientists and their institutes to protect intellectual property
arising from their research and to establish links with commercial
partners.  CRT facilitates the discovery, development and marketing
of new cancer therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics and enabling
technologies.  Further information about CRT can be found at

Cancer Research UK is Europe's leading cancer charity, dedicated to
research into the causes, prevention and treatment of cancer.  The
charity supports the work of 3,000 scientists, doctors and nurses in
over 80 academic centres across the UK, with an annual scientific
spend of more than £213 million.  Further information about Cancer
Research UK can be found at

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 development and commercialization of
products. Various risks may cause Xenova's actual results to differ
materially from those expressed or implied by the forward looking
statements, including: our dependence upon strategic alliance
partners to develop and commercialize products and services.  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


Xenova Group plc
+44 (0)1753 706600
David A Oxlade, Chief Executive Officer
Daniel Abrams, Finance Director
Veronica Cefis Sellar, Head of Corporate Communications

UK - Financial Dynamics
+44 (0)20 7831 3113
David Yates
Ben Atwell

US - Trout Group/BMC Communications
+1 212 477 9007
Media: Brad Miles
Investors: Lee Stern