Astex Grants Cytochrome P450 License to GlaxoSmithKline

    CAMBRIDGE, UK, April 24 /CNW/ - Astex Therapeutics today announced that
it has granted a non-exclusive, worldwide license to its cytochrome P450
intellectual property to GlaxoSmithKline. Under the terms of the agreement,
GlaxoSmithKline will pay an up-front fee to Astex in return for a license
under Astex's portfolio of granted and pending cytochrome P450 patents. The
specific financial terms and other details of the license were not disclosed.
    "This agreement is another example of Astex's commitment to making its
human cytochrome P450 technology available to other companies who could
benefit or are already benefiting from its application in the discovery and
development of novel drugs with reduced metabolic liabilities. We expect that
the application of Astex's groundbreaking research, which was published in
Nature and Science, will benefit many companies' drug discovery and
development programmes", said Leon Bushara, Chief Executive Officer.
    Astex is continuing to strategically leverage its cytochrome P450
intellectual property. A license to its human cytochrome P450 technology was
granted to Pfizer Inc. in 2006 and further non-exclusive licenses to the
technology are available.

    Note to News Editors

    Cytochromes P450 (CYP450) are the most significant group of
drug-metabolising enzymes in humans. The action of these enzymes is the cause
of adverse drug reactions to many marketed drugs and drug-combination
therapies and many failures of novel drugs during their development have been
attributed to their interactions with this class of enzymes. Astex was the
first group in the world to successfully determine the 3-dimensional crystal
structure of a human cytochrome P450 enzyme and has a number of granted
patents in the UK, Europe and in the US including:

    GB 2 395 718 B covering the use of the crystal structure of human
cytochrome P450 3A4 granted on 19th January 2005
    EP 1 438 337 B1 covering the use of the crystal structure of human
cytochrome P450 2C9 granted on 20th September 2006
    GB 2 408 509 B covering the use of the crystal structure of human
cytochrome P450 3A4 granted on 1st November 2006
    US 7,148,046 B2 covering crystals of human cytochrome P450 3A4 granted on
12th December 2006.

    Astex scientists have published on the crystal structures of human
isoforms 2C9 and 3A4 in the world-leading scientific journals Nature and
Science(1). The insight provided by knowledge of the crystal structures of
cytochromes P450 and how drugs bind to these enzymes allows for the design of
drug candidates with improved drug metabolism properties thereby reducing
attrition rates in drug development and resulting in safer and more effective
new medicines.

    About Astex

    Astex Therapeutics is a biotechnology company that discovers and develops
novel small molecule therapeutics. Using its pioneering fragment-based drug
discovery platform Pyramid(TM), Astex has built a pipeline of four
molecularly-targeted oncology drugs, of which two are currently being tested
in clinical trials and two are in pre-clinical development.
    In addition to its proprietary research programmes, Astex's unprecedented
productivity in lead discovery has been endorsed through numerous partnerships
with major pharmaceutical companies, including Novartis, AstraZeneca, and
Boehringer Ingelheim.

    (1) Williams et al (2004) 'Crystal structures of human cytochrome P450
3A4 bound to metyrapone and progesterone', Science Magazine, 2004 Jul 30:305
(5684): 683-686
    Williams et al (2003) 'Crystal structure of human cytochrome P450 2C9
with bound warfarin', Nature, 2003 July 24;424 (6947): 464-8

    For further information on Astex Therapeutics please visit the Company's
website at

For further information:

For further information: Astex Therapeutics Limited, Leon Bushara, Chief
Executive Officer, Email:, Tel:

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