Signal Pharmaceuticals Announces Positive Results In Preclinical Study Of Novel Drug Leads For Treatment Of Osteoporosis

San Diego, CA, December 4, 1998 -- Signal Pharmaceuticals today announced the successful completion of preclinical studies demonstrating the ability of two series of compounds to safely and effectively inhibit bone resorption in animal models of osteoporosis. The drug leads belong to a new class of small molecule compounds termed selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), also referred to as 'designer estrogens.' SERMs are designed to mimic the positive effects of estrogen by inhibiting bone loss in postmenopausal women, while avoiding some of estrogen's adverse effects such as increased risk of breast and uterine cancer. Moreover, studies have demonstrated that some SERMs, such as Zeneca's tamoxifen (NolvadexTM) and Eli Lilly's raloxifene (EvistaTM), also have anti-estrogenic effects and therefore can be effective in preventing and treating breast cancer. Signal researchers are presenting data from successful preclinical studies at the joint meeting of The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research and The International Bone and Mineral Society being held in San Francisco, California, December 1-6.

Signal evaluated the efficacy of its novel SERMs in a rodent model of post-menopausal osteoporosis. Left untreated, these animals lose bone mass and eventually develop advanced stages of osteoporosis due to the loss of estrogen function. In the study, two series of drug leads were tested in parallel with estrogen and raloxifene for their ability to inhibit bone resorption. The study concluded that Signal's drug leads were twice as effective as raloxifene in preventing bone loss, at doses equal or less than raloxifene's therapeutic dose. In a separate study, these compounds also demonstrated superior safety, when compared with raloxifene, tamoxifen and estrogen, with regard to potential cancer risks in reproductive tissues. These drugs, if successfully developed, would provide clinicians with an alternative, non-estrogen treatment for osteoporosis

Contact: Neil Cohen
415-677-4455 x205
Noonan/Russo Communications

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