[MOL] Fwd: Matrix Pharmaceutical Licenses Anticancer Agent from... [02832] Medicine On Line

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Dear Carla and all

This sounds really interesting.

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Matrix Pharmaceutical Licenses Anticancer Agent from Hoechst Marion Roussel

FREMONT, Calif., Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Matrix Pharmaceutical, Inc. (Matrix)
announced today that it has licensed a systemic anticancer agent, FMdC, also
known as MDL 101,731, which has shown broad anticancer activity in preclinical
trials and has completed human safety Phase I studies.  FMdC soon will enter
Phase II studies to test its effectiveness against the two most deadly cancers
in the United States, non-small cell lung - the most common form of lung
cancer --  and colorectal cancer.  The compound was discovered by and licensed
from Hoechst Marion Roussel (HMR).

The American Cancer Society estimates that non-small cell lung cancer is the
leading cause of U.S. cancer mortality, accounting for 75 percent of the
160,100 lung cancer deaths expected this year.  Colorectal cancer is the
second most lethal form, responsible for 56,500 deaths annually.

"We believe that FMdC has the potential to be a potent new weapon against
these devastating diseases," said Michael D. Casey, president and chief
executive officer of Matrix.  "Matrix is now a step closer to its goal of
providing a range of products and novel technologies to treat patients with
systemic cancer as well as local tumors."

FMdC belongs to a class of anticancer and antiviral agents known as nucleoside
analogs.  Extensive testing has shown that FMdC suppresses the growth of
cancer cells in several ways: It inhibits the replication of DNA, and it also
hinders an enzyme necessary for cell division.

According to William Plunkett, Ph.D., professor of medicine and chief, section
of cellular and molecular pharmacology at the University of Texas' M.D.
Anderson Cancer Center, who has conducted preclinical studies with the
compound,  "Analogs like FMdC are one of the most exciting classes of new
anticancer drugs because of their potency, multiple mechanisms of action and
manageable side effects.   Data on the compound suggest that it may be as
effective as or superior to gemcitabine, although this can only be determined
through additional clinical testing."

Matrix has paid HMR a license fee in exchange for worldwide rights to FMdC,
except in Japan, where rights are held by the pharmaceutical manufacturer
Kyowa Hakko, Ltd.  Under terms of the agreement, Matrix will pay royalties on
future product sales, and also make additional payments to HMR if certain
clinical and regulatory milestones are met.

"This licensing is the first step in implementing the strategy Matrix adopted
last year to build on the company's expertise in oncology through acquisition
as well as internal development," said Mr. Casey.  "We anticipate an
aggressive development program for this newest Matrix compound."

Located in Fremont, California, Matrix Pharmaceutical, Inc. uses patented drug
delivery technologies to develop novel site-specific treatments for cancer.
The company's lead cancer product, IntraDose(TM) (cisplatin/epinephrine)
Injectable Gel, is in Phase III studies for the treatment of head and neck
cancer and other solid tumors.  IntraDose is also being evaluated in Phase II
studies in primary and metastatic liver cancer. MPI 5020, a locally injected
gel designed to enhance cytotoxic effects of radiation therapy, is in a Phase
I/II trial in recurrent and metastatic breast cancer.

This press release contains, in addition to historical statements, certain
forward-looking statements relating to the company's clinical development
plans for FMdC and plans to continue development of IntraDose and MPI 5020.
Such statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject
to a number of factors and uncertainties, including the risk that FMdC may not
achieve regulatory approval, or if approved, may not compete effectively with
gemcitabine, other nucleoside analogs or other anticancer treatments.
Additional information is set forth under the heading "Risk Factors" in the
company's Annual Report of Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 1997 and
Quarterly Report of Form 10-Q for the period ended June 30, 1998, which could
cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-
looking statements.

SOURCE  Matrix Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

CO:  Matrix Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Hoechst Marion Roussel

ST:  California



09/23/98 08:04 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com

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