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  ---Understanding HIV's Co-Receptor Usage May Facilitate Targeting of Drugs to Appropriate Patients
NEW York, NY and SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA, May 8 - Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) and Monogram Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: MGRM) announced today a non-exclusive collaboration to make Monogram's HIV Co-Receptor Tropism Assay available for patient use on a global basis. The assay is a diagnostic tool to show tropism - the path taken by the virus to access human CD4 cells. Tropism information is intended to help identify patients who are most likely to respond to a class of investigational drugs known as CCR5 antagonists. CCR5 antagonists are designed to block viral cell entry through the CCR5 co-receptor. Studies have shown that 80-85 percent of people newly diagnosed with HIV and previously untreated with HIV therapy have dominant CCR5-tropic virus. This drops to 50-60 percent in patients who have been treated before with anti-retroviral medicines.
Pfizer has a CCR5 antagonist, maraviroc, in phase 3 development and has used the Monogram tropism assay to select patients for enrollment in late-stage clinical studies. The agreement announced today expands this clinical trial collaboration and provides for global availability of Monogram's assay in a multiyear collaboration.
"Because of the important role the Co-Receptor Tropism Assay is believed to play in CCR5 antagonist clinical development, we are pleased to be expanding our partnership with Pfizer. We look forward to working together so that the right medicine can be made available to the right patients at the right time" said William D. Young, Monogram CEO.
Under the terms of the agreement announced today, Pfizer and Monogram will collaborate to make Monogram's Co-Receptor Tropism Assay available globally. Pfizer also entered into an agreement to invest $25 million in Monogram this month through a Senior Secured Convertible Note, payable in May 2010. The closing of the investment is subject to customary closing conditions.
CCR5 antagonists have a mechanism of action different from currently approved drugs," said John LaMattina, president, Pfizer Global Research and Development. "With this collaboration we are working to advance global access to new diagnostics that may better assess the potential for CCR5 antagonists to fulfill an unmet medical need."
About Pfizer
Pfizer is committed to bringing meaningful improvement to the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS and those at risk around the world. Our commitment is embodied in our products, partnerships, pipeline and philanthropy.
Pfizer Global Research & Development is the world's largest privately owned biomedical research organization. Pfizer Inc discovers, develops, manufactures and markets leading prescription medicines, for humans and animals, and many of the world's best-known consumer brands.
About Monogram
Monogram is advancing individualized medicine by discovering, developing and marketing innovative products to guide and improve treatment of serious infectious diseases and cancer. The Company's products are designed to help doctors optimize treatment regimens for their patients that lead to better outcomes and reduced costs. The Company's technology is also being used by numerous biopharmaceutical companies to develop new and improved antiviral therapeutics and vaccines as well as targeted cancer therapeutics. More information about the Company and its technology can be found on its web site at
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