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Ecopia`s Lead Cancer Compound Shown to Cross Blood-Brain Barrier

Posted on: 09/23/2004

Ecopia's Lead Cancer Compound Shown to Cross Blood-Brain Barrier

Press Release

September 23, 2004 08:26 AM US Eastern Timezone

MONTREAL--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 23, 2004--Ecopia BioSciences Inc. (TSX:EIA) has obtained results demonstrating that its lead compound ECO-4601, a drug candidate to treat brain cancer, crosses the blood-brain barrier. This new data, coupled with previous efficacy data in glioma animal models as well as the compound's safety profile, reinforces the Company's strategy to pursue the development of ECO-4601 for treatment of primary brain cancer. This will allow Ecopia to rapidly access an underserved and growing market of patients with a very bleak prognosis.

Current treatment options for primary brain cancer are limited and often present challenges in delivering the drug to its target, which is protected by the blood-brain barrier. The barrier acts as a filter, allowing the passage of only certain compounds. Several treatments on the market and in development require invasive techniques, including surgery, to administer the compounds directly to the brain. Such invasive methods of administering chemotherapeutic agents can lead to complications including infections and swelling of the brain. The results obtained today with ECO-4601 demonstrate its potential for easy delivery by intravenous infusion, which is commonly used in chemotherapy to treat cancer.

"These results are very exciting because the ability of ECO-4601 to cross the blood-brain barrier gives our compound a major competitive advantage in serving the unmet needs of brain cancer patients," stated Dr. Pierre Falardeau, Ecopia's President and Chief Executive Officer. "We will continue to focus our efforts on developing this compound and begin to prepare a filing of an IND for the FDA, in order to start human trials as soon as possible."

Ecopia scientists will present this, and other, data during a poster session on October 1, 2004, at the 16th EORTC-NIC-AACR Symposium in Geneva. This symposium brings together three of the world's leading cancer organisations and oncologists.

ECO-4601 is a novel compound discovered using the Ecopia's unique DECIPHER(R) technology. The Company has already reported data demonstrating the compound's ability to significantly inhibit tumour growth in animal models for an aggressive form of primary brain cancer.

Current prognosis for patients diagnosed with primary brain cancer is poor, with a two-year survival rate of 35%, dropping as low as 8% for some more aggressive forms. Each year 8.2 out of every 100,000 individuals are diagnosed with primary brain cancer, representing an estimated 58,000 new cases per year in developed countries. Presently, the standard of care involves surgery to remove the tumour when accessible, radiation to shrink the tumour and chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells. The current chemotherapeutic standard of care for brain cancer costs an estimated US$25,000 per year, resulting in a potential market worth well over US$1 billion.

About Ecopia

Using its DECIPHER(R) technology, Ecopia has built a pipeline that includes several anticancer, antibacterial and antifungal agents now in early stages of development. The Company is advancing its most promising compound ECO-4601, a potential new drug to treat brain cancer, through preclinical trials and expects to file an IND in 2005. With its innovative DECIPHER(R) technology, Ecopia uses a radically different approach to discover new drugs from bacteria called actinomycetes. The most promising discoveries are added to the Company's rapidly growing pipeline for further development. Ecopia's shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: EIA).

Additional information about the Company can be obtained from Ecopia's website at

This press release may contain forward-looking statements that reflect the Company's current expectations regarding future events. The forward-looking statements, including expectations as to the pharmaceutical potential of ECO-4601 and the timeframe for its development involve risk and uncertainties. Actual events could differ materially from those projected here and depend on a number of factors, including the results of continuing pre-clinical profiling of ECO-4601, uncertainties related to the regulatory process for drug development, the success and timely completion of clinical studies, and trials, and the impact of general economic conditions. Investors are cautioned against placing undue reliance on forward-looking statements. A more complete discussion of the risks and uncertainties facing the Company appears in Ecopia's 2003 Annual Report.
DECIPHER(R) is a trademark of Ecopia BioSciences Inc.
Ecopia BioSciences Inc. (TSX:EIA)

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