Biovitrum and GlaxoSmithKline to focus efforts on developing highly selective 5-HT2c receptor agonists

Biovitrum and GlaxoSmithKline to focus efforts on developing highly selective 5-HT2c receptor agonists Stockholm, May 22, 2003. Biovitrum AB today announced that Biovitrum and GlaxoSmithKline have jointly decided to focus their efforts on the development of highly selective 5-HT2c receptor agonist compounds for the treatment of obesity and other medical disorders. "We have identified other substances in Biovitrum's collection of compounds that show a distinctly higher receptor selectivity", says Ken Batchelor, Metabolic and Viral Center of Excellence for Drug Discovery SVP at GSK. Recommendations from an expert panel of international obesity experts have highlighted selectivity as the key component of an optimal profile for this class of compounds. Recent research efforts have led to the discovery of compounds that are an order of magnitude more selective than current compounds in the clinic today. As a result, the ongoing three-month clinical Phase IIb patient study with a less selective compound in this class (BVT.933) will be truncated. This compound is one of the first in a line of 5-HT2C receptor agonists for the suppression of appetite that have been developed by Biovitrum and are being studied under the collaboration between the two companies to develop new therapies for obesity and other medical disorders. "The results from this study will provide valuable information that can assist in the development of a more selective 5-HT2C receptor agonist", commented Terje Kalland, CSO at Biovitrum. The current Phase IIb study of BVT.933 has proceeded smoothly showing the expected results and there have been no serious adverse events or unexpected findings. Biovitrum Enquiries: Mikael Widell, SVP Communications Biovitrum AB Phone: +46 8 697 2085 Mobil: +46 70 311 99 60 Douglas Pretsell, PhD Euro RSCG Life NRP Phone: +44 20 7726 4452 Notes to Editors: Biovitrum is a biotech company active in the discovery and development of drugs to treat metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and obesity, and in the development of protein therapeutics, with metabolic diseases and oncology as targeted therapy areas. The company has a strong intellectual property and technology platform, with a number of compounds in pre-clinical and clinical development. Biovitrum is one of the largest biotech companies in Europe with more than 550 employees. Annual revenues, including royalties and contract service fees, finance the major part of the annual research budget. Obesity Obesity is a rapidly increasing global health problem that causes complications such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia and atherosclerosis, which in turn cause coronary heart disease, stroke and premature death. In addition, obesity is associated with sleep apnea, osteoarthritis and increased risk for cancers of the breast, prostate and colon. Obesity now affects 100 million people, from an overweight population of 1 billion individuals, and the prevalence has increased by 30% in the last decade alone. Obesity is estimated to be responsible for 6.8 % of all health care expenditures in the United States and place a massive financial burden on health care providers worldwide. Efforts to change the intake of high fat food and combat an increasingly sedentary lifestyle have been insufficient. So far, only two pharmacological treatment alternatives for obesity are available and the need for more effective therapy alternatives is enormous. Selective 5-HT2C receptor agonist that suppresses appetite: 5-HT is also known as serotonin, a neurotransmitter (a chemical that carries messages between nerve cells). Neurotransmitters are released by nerve cells and stimulate receptors on other nerve cells to transmit nerve messages. There is a range of different receptors that are sensitive to serotonin; one of these is the 5-HT2C receptor, which is linked to the regulation of appetite. An agonist is a drug that stimulates receptors (conversely antagonists block receptors). BVT.933 selectively stimulates the 5-HT2C receptor. This has been shown experimentally to result in the suppression of appetite. 5-HT2C receptors have been shown through many studies to play a major role in appetite control. ------------------------------------------------------------ This information was brought to you by Waymaker The following files are available for download:

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Biovitrum is one of the larger biopharma companies in Europe. With operations in Sweden and in the UK Biovitrum conducts research and develops pharmaceuticals for unmet medical needs both for common diseases and conditions that affect smaller patient populations.Biovitrum focuses on drugs for the treatment of obesity, diabetes, inflammation and blood diseases as well as a number of well defined niche indications. Biovitrum develops and produces protein-based drugs on a contractual basis and markets a range of specialist pharmaceuticals primarily in the Nordic countries. Biovitrum has approximately 500 employees.