AVI BioPharma Presents Preclinical Data on Cholesterol-Lowering Program
PORTLAND, Ore. � Nov. 5, 2003 � AVI BioPharma, Inc. (Nasdaq: AVII) announced today that it has presented preclinical data at the 24th annual meeting of the American College of Toxicology in Washington, D.C. The preclinical results indicate that AVI�s compound lowered cholesterol without significant toxicity. The studies evaluated AVI�s NEUGENE� antisense compound targeting HMG coenzyme A (CoA) reductase, a liver enzyme involved in the production of cholesterol.
The preclinical research was conducted by AVI scientists Vikram Arora, Ph.D. Patrick L. Iversen, Ph.D., AVI�s senior vice president of research and development; and researcher Melissa L. Cate. Data presented at the conference showed that AVI�s NEUGENE antisense compound reduced serum cholesterol in two separate studies by 45.6% and 43.7% compared to controls, with minimal toxicity.
�These findings add to our previous work targeting cytochrome P-450 in the liver, and show how liver gene function can be positively impacted by AVI�s NEUGENE technology,� said Dr. Iversen. �Reducing the levels of HMG CoA reductase may help in the management of high cholesterol.�
HMG-CoA reductase is an important enzyme in the synthesis of cholesterol. The enzyme is the target of the highly successful statin drugs currently used for the treatment of high cholesterol. Statins are not very well tolerated by some people, and toxicity has been serious in others. Because the distribution and toxicity profiles of AVI�s NEUGENES are
different from the statin drugs, AVI will continue to evaluate the possible usage of NEUGENES to lower cholesterol.
About AVI BioPharma
AVI BioPharma develops therapeutic products for the treatment of life-threatening diseases using two technology platforms: third-generation NEUGENE antisense drugs and cancer immunotherapy. AVI�s lead NEUGENE antisense compound is designed to target cell proliferation disorders, including cardiovascular restenosis, cancer, and polycystic kidney disease. In addition to targeting specific genes in the body, AVI�s antiviral program uses NEUGENE antisense compounds to target single-stranded RNA viruses, including West Nile virus, SARS coronavirus, calicivirus and hepatitis C. AVI�s second technology, AVICINE�, is a therapeutic cancer vaccine with late-stage trials planned for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. More information about AVI is available on the company�s Web site at http://www.avibio.com/.