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For Immediate Release

EPIX Pharmaceuticals Achieves $1.25 Million Milestone in Collaboration with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics

January 23, 2008

EPIX Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:EPIX), a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing novel therapeutics through the use of its proprietary and highly efficient in silico drug discovery platform, today announced that it has received a $1.25 million milestone payment from Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics, Inc. (CFFT), the nonprofit affiliate of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. This milestone marks EPIX and CFFT’s successful completion of the development of a validated model of a full-length Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane conductance Regulator (CFTR) ion channel protein. A mutation in the CFTR gene that codes for this channel is one of the key factors that ultimately lead to the symptoms, complications and premature mortality in people with cystic fibrosis.

“Our collaboration with CFFT has now resulted in four achieved milestones in two years and further validates our computational-medicinal chemistry approach to drug discovery,” stated Michael G. Kauffman, M.D., Ph.D., chief executive officer of EPIX. “Following the promising data from our Phase 2a clinical trial of PRX-03140, our novel drug candidate in Alzheimer’s disease, we are pleased to begin 2008 with the continued success of our drug discovery engine and ongoing collaboration with our CFFT partners. This new, complete model of CFTR will allow us to prepare for the lead optimization process and further advance our research efforts in cystic fibrosis.”

“This is a major milestone in our efforts to use structure-based technologies to design new drugs that could treat CF by addressing the basic defect,” said Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “In the two years since this alliance was initiated, EPIX has been consistently ahead of schedule. Their full-length CFTR model was completed early, and has already been used to identify interesting molecules that increase CFTR activity in cell-based assays.”

This is the fourth milestone payment under a research, development and commercialization agreement between EPIX and CFFT signed in 2005 that focuses on discovering potential drug therapies targeting the CFTR ion channel. The collaboration between the two organizations was recently expanded in November 2007 to allow EPIX to continue the discovery process, set up a biological lab and prepare for lead optimization. 

“We continue to be pleased with the output of this successful collaboration and our ability to develop a validated model of the CFTR ion channel,” said Hanoch Senderowitz, Ph.D., senior director, computational development of EPIX. “EPIX’s proven discovery and drug development approach and our collaboration with CFFT have once again yielded key research advances and we look forward to continuing our joint efforts.”

The most common mutations in the CFTR gene can impair the ability of the protein to be transported into the cell membrane and, therefore, to transport chloride out of cells.  In the lungs and gastrointestinal tract, the reduced levels of CFTR in the membrane lead to the development of the abnormally thick, sticky mucous that causes chronic, life-threatening lung infections and impairs digestion in people with cystic fibrosis.  EPIX is working with CFFT to discover drug candidates that can help restore proper functioning of the CFTR protein.

About the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the leading organization devoted to curing and controlling cystic fibrosis. Headquartered in Bethesda, MD, the Foundation funds CF research, has 80 chapter and branch offices throughout the country, and supports and accredits a nationwide network of 115 CF care centers, which provide vital treatments and other CF resources to patients and families. For more information, visit www.cff.org.

About EPIX
EPIX Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing novel therapeutics through the use of its proprietary and highly efficient in silico drug discovery platform. The company has a pipeline of internally-discovered drug candidates currently in clinical development to treat diseases of the central nervous system and lung conditions. EPIX also has collaborations with leading organizations, including GlaxoSmithKline, Amgen, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics and Bayer Schering Pharma.  For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.epixpharma.com.

This news release contains express or implied forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are based on current expectations of management.  These statements relate to, among other things, our expectations regarding our drug discovery efforts, the future development of our in-silico methodologies and the benefits of our collaboration with Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics, Inc. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, and which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements.  In particular, the risks and uncertainties include, among other things: risks that product candidates may fail in the clinic or may not be successfully marketed or manufactured; risks relating to our ability to advance the development of product candidates currently in the pipeline or in clinical trials; failure to obtain the financial resources to complete development of product candidates; our inability to further identify, develop and achieve commercial success for new products and technologies; our inability to achieve commercial success for our products and technologies; our failure to comply with regulations relating to our products and product candidates, including FDA requirements; the risk that the FDA may interpret the results of our studies differently than we have; and risks of new, changing and competitive technologies and regulations in the U.S. and internationally.  Existing and prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof.  We undertake no obligation to update or revise the information contained in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or circumstances or otherwise.  For additional information regarding these and other risks that we face, see the disclosure contained in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q.

Media Contacts:

  • Kim C. Drapkin, Chief Financial Officer, EPIX, (781) 761-7602
  • Keri Mattox, Pure Communications, (215) 791-0105


The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is an accredited charity of the Better Business Bureau.