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Nycomed Amersham Imaging and Neurochem Collaborate to Create Alzheimer`s Diagnostic (PR Newswire) ... presence of amyloid plaques that accumulate in the brains of Alzheimer`s patients....... products, some of which are used to treat localized tumors such as prostate cancer,... - Jul 19 8:00 AM ET


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Posted on: 07/19/2001

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Thursday July 19, 8:00 am Eastern Time

Press Release

SOURCE: Neurochem, Inc.

Nycomed Amersham Imaging and Neurochem Collaborate to Create Alzheimer's Diagnostic

Companies unite innovative amyloid-based Alzheimer's Disease research with enhanced imaging technology

SAINT-LAURENT, CANADA, and LONDON, July 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Neurochem, Inc. (TSE: NRM - news) and Nycomed Amersham Imaging today announced that the two companies have agreed to collaborate on the creation of a product for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease. Using Neurochem's proprietary molecules as a basis, the companies will work together on the design and selection of a product to detect the presence of amyloid plaques that accumulate in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. The successful outcome of this joint effort should enable early and accurate diagnosis of the disease.

"This collaboration provides an exciting opportunity to capitalize on Neurochem's amyloid targeting technology in molecular imaging," said Dr. Bill Clarke, Executive Vice-President, Research and Development, Nycomed Amersham Imaging. "The early diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease is likely to be a key to the successful application of emerging therapeutics, including those currently in development at Neurochem, that promise to prevent or slow the progression of the disease. Within the neuro-imaging field, Nycomed Amersham Imaging in the past year has consolidated its market presence founded on Ceretec® (technetium Tc-99m exametazime) used for visualization of cerebral blood flow in stroke patients through its European launch of DaTSCAN(TM), a radiopharmaceutical for the diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease (PD) and related syndromes. An Alzheimer's Disease imaging product will allow us to extend this established franchise in the field."

"By entering into this promising collaboration, Nycomed Amersham Imaging recognizes the potential for beta-amyloid, the target of Neurochem's clinical therapeutic compound, to be a key marker for Alzheimer's Disease," commented Dr. Louis R. Lamontagne, President and Chief Executive Officer of Neurochem. "This collaboration provides our two companies with an opportunity to revolutionize the way this disease is diagnosed and treated."

Under the terms of the collaboration, Neurochem will identify appropriate amyloid-binding molecules from its library of compounds. Nycomed Amersham Imaging will then synthesize radio-labeled binding molecules to be used in conjunction with diagnostic imaging tools. The goal for this innovative diagnostic will be to enable the early identification of amyloid plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, even before symptoms of the disease are observed.

Alzheimer's Disease is the most common cause of dementia in the aging population, and affects approximately 4 million people in the U.S. alone. In its early stages, the disease causes only minor incidences of memory loss or forgetfulness; as it progresses, the symptoms multiply and intensify, causing the deterioration of both cognitive and motor functioning. Ongoing research into the underlying mechanisms of the disease has led to the development of therapeutics that will eventually slow or prevent the effects of the disease process. Stemming from the same area of research, this diagnostic could be the first of its kind.

About Neurochem

Neurochem is a leader in the development of novel, proprietary compounds that inhibit the formation, deposition and toxic effects of amyloid fibrils within the body.

Neurochem's innovative core technology consists of the design and synthesis of compounds that mimic the properties of sulphated glycosaminoglycans' or GAGs, complex carbohydrates that promote the amyloid fibril formation that is characteristic of Alzheimer's Disease. Neurochem's synthetic compounds compete with the naturally occurring GAGs to interfere with the formation and deposition of amyloid aggregates. This biochemical "deception" has been proven successful in studies showing the compounds disrupting the formation of indicators of Alzheimer's Disease, and many other detrimental amyloid-based diseases.

Neurochem's research team has been working with international amyloid experts on the development of therapeutic cures to amyloid-related diseases, including Alzheimer's Disease, Secondary Amyloidosis, Diabetes Type II and Hemorrhagic Stroke due to Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy. Neurochem has advanced three drug candidates to clinical trials for Alzheimer's Disease, Secondary Amyloidosis and Hemorrhagic Stroke. At present, the Company employs over 73 people and is located in Saint-Laurent, Canada (www.neurochem.com).

About Nycomed Amersham Imaging

Nycomed Amersham Imaging is a research-based pharmaceutical company dedicated to providing health care professionals with products that expand and improve their diagnostic capabilities and contribute to treatment of disease.

Products marketed by Nycomed Amersham Imaging are used in x-ray imaging, computed tomography (CT) scanning, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and radiopharmaceutical imaging. These are, in general, ingested or injected into the bloodstream to enhance images of the structure or functioning of body organs obtained during diagnostic imaging procedures. These enhanced diagnostic images enable physicians to more accurately detect, diagnose, and treat diseases and functional abnormalities. In addition, Nycomed Amersham Imaging has nuclear oncology products, some of which are used to treat localized tumors such as prostate cancer, and another, which is used to treat pain from cancer that has spread to the bone.

Nycomed Amersham Imaging is committed to finding innovative diagnostic and therapeutic solutions in cardiology, pulmonology, neurology and oncology. The Company is part of Amersham plc (NYSE: NYE; LSE: NAM; OSE: NYA), the world leader in in vivo diagnostic imaging and life sciences. Based in the United Kingdom, the company has annual sales of 1.4 billion pounds sterling (approximately U.S. $2.1 billion) and around 8,900 employees worldwide.

All of the statements contained in this news release, other than statements of fact, which are independently verifiable at the date hereof, are forward-looking statements. Such statements, based as they are on the current expectations of management, inherently involve numerous risks and uncertainties, known and unknown. Some examples of known risks are: the impact of general economic conditions, general conditions in the pharmaceutical industry, changes in the regulatory environment in the jurisdictions in which Neurochem does business, stock market volatility, fluctuations in costs, and changes to the competitive environment due to consolidation or otherwise. Consequently, actual future results may differ materially from the anticipated results expressed in the forward-looking statements.

     AT NEUROCHEM, INC.:
     Dr. Lise Hebert
     Director, Communications
     and Investor Relations
     Tel.: (514) 337-4646
     Fax: (514) 337-5339
     E-mai l: lhebert@neurochem.com
     Web site: www.neurochem.com

     AT NYCOMED AMERSHAM IMAGING:
     Carol J. Perlman
     V.P., Corporate Communication
     Tel.: 1 609-514-6600
     Fax:  1 609-514-6572
     E-mail: carol.perlman@us.nycomed-amersham.com

     AT AMERSHAM PLC:
     Investor Relations: Alexandra Morris
     Tel:  +44 1494 54 2051
     E-Mail: alexandra.morris@uk.nycomed-amersham.com
     Corporate Affairs: Lynne Gailey
     Tel : +44 1494 54 2050
     E-Mail: lynne.gailey@uk.nycomed-amersham.com

SOURCE: Neurochem, Inc.

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