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Rigel Accelerates Asthma/Allergy Program Through Agreement with Albany Molecular Research
South San Francisco, CA, and Albany, NY - May 31, 2001
Rigel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: RIGL) and Albany Molecular Research, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMRI) today announced that they have entered into an agreement for medicinal chemistry services to support and accelerate Rigel's product development program in the area of IgE receptor regulation on mast cells for asthma and allergy. Rigel intends to begin clinical trials in this program in 2002.
Under the terms of the agreement, Albany Molecular will provide Rigel with expertise to accelerate the optimization of compounds in Rigel's mast cell program. The goal of the mast cell program is to identify and develop small molecule compounds that inhibit the secretion of multiple inflammatory factors, such as histamine and leukotrienes, that occur when allergens bind to mast cells. Rigel will provide AMRI with compounds it has selected, and AMRI will utilize its medicinal chemistry expertise to enhance the pharmaceutical properties of the compounds.
?More than 100 pharmaceutical companies, including some of the largest in the world, have collaborated with AMRI for lead optimization, scale-up and other essential steps in the drug development process,? said Donald G. Payan, M.D., Rigel's chief scientific officer and executive vice president. ?We are confident that the significant experience and expertise of AMRI?s chemists, combined with that of our in-house chemistry group, will ensure that this aspect of the mast cell program moves forward expeditiously. These efforts will also support our plans to selectively partner rights to this program in certain Asian markets in exchange for significant funding."
?Fundamentally, this agreement underscores Rigel?s goal to transition into a drug development organization,? Dr. Payan said. ?We have built a solid portfolio of development programs that we plan to develop through Phase II clinical trials and then partner with pharmaceutical companies for the final stages of development and commercialization. This approach enables us to leverage our strong drug discovery and development capabilities while reducing the risks inherent in bringing drug candidates through the entire development and marketing process.?
?Albany Molecular Research is honored to begin this important collaboration with Rigel Pharmaceuticals,? said AMRI Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas E. D?Ambra, Ph.D. ?We have a strong track record in lead discovery and optimization. We also understand that the success of Rigel's efforts in this program will in part be due to the efforts of our scientists under this collaboration. We are committed to doing our very best to help Rigel succeed."
Rigel uses post-genomics combinatorial biology technology to discover novel drug targets. Post-genomics combinatorial biology technology is designed to identify molecules which play an important role in regulating a human cell?s response to disease by testing a very large number of proteins in a very large number of cells to determine which proteins will change the cell?s response to the disease. Rigel currently has programs in asthma/allergy, autoimmunity, transplant rejection, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic bronchitis, cancerous tumor growth and hepatitis C. In addition to its proprietary programs, Rigel has research and product development collaborations with Pfizer Inc., Cell Genesys, Inc., Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V. and Novartis Pharma A.G. Rigel is based in South San Francisco, California.
Based in Albany, New York, Albany Molecular Research is a leading chemistry research and drug discovery and development company focusing on applications for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and life sciences industries. Albany Molecular Research performs comprehensive chemistry research, from lead discovery, optimization and development to commercial manufacturing. The company performs chemistry research for many of the leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and for its own internal research and development.
Statements included in this press release that are not historical in nature are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements include those regarding the anticipated initiation of clinical trials for Rigel's development programs, including its mast cell program. Rigel and Albany Molecular Research, Inc. caution readers that forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements due to the risks and factors identified in Rigel's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2000 and other filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission from time to time, and Albany Molecular's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2000 and Albany Molecular's other filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The information in this press release is current as of its release date. Neither Rigel nor Albany Molecular intends to update the forward-looking information contained in this press release.