CeNeS Signs AutoPatch Technology Agreement with Wyeth-Ayerst Research, a Division of American Home Products Corporation

CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom, Nov. 14, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- CeNeS Pharmaceuticals plc (LSE:CEN) announced today that it had signed an agreement worth $1.2 million for the supply of its proprietary ion channel drug discovery technology to Wyeth-Ayerst Research, the pharmaceutical research division of American Home Products Corporation (NYSE:AHP).

Under this agreement, CeNeS will supply both its first (AP1) and second (AP2) generation ion channel screening systems to Wyeth. This is the first sale of CeNeS' AP2 technology that will incorporate cell and liquid handling technology to allow unattended operation for prolonged periods of time. This step forward will significantly enhance the patch-clamp process, which in its conventional form requires full time attention by a skilled operator. CeNeS first generation systems are already in use at GlaxoSmithKline laboratories in the UK and USA following the first sale of AutoPatch(TM) technology in December 2000.

Patch-clamping is the predominant method by which ion channels are currently studied. However, it is a slow, technically intricate process that requires sophisticated equipment and specialist operators. These factors have limited the ability of companies to fully exploit ion channels as drug targets. AutoPatch(TM) automates this complex process, increasing throughput and reducing the need for highly trained, skilled operators.

Commenting, Alan Goodman, Chairman of CeNeS Pharmaceuticals plc, said: "This is the second large sale of our proprietary AutoPatch(TM) technology, which has been successfully developed for commercial use by CeNeS. The new technology is aimed at achieving genuine electrophysiological screening of ion channels at high-throughput, potentially increasing the rate of the drug discovery process in ion channels several fold. We are delighted that Wyeth has invested in both our first and second generation system further demonstrating CeNeS leading position in this field."

Dr. James Barrett, Vice President Neuroscience at Wyeth commented: "The AutoPatch(TM) systems will significantly enhance the screening capacity and drug discovery capabilities of our ion channel programs, providing an innovative solution to one of the rate-limiting steps in ion channel research."

CeNeS is a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development and commercialization of drugs for CNS disorders and pain control. The company currently markets four products, and has research and development assets targeting pain, stroke, schizophrenia, addiction, sleep disorders, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis. CeNeS also has a cognitive division, which markets CANTAB, a computerized cognitive test. In addition it has a range of platform technologies including AutoPatch(TM) its unique automated patch clamping technology. The group is based in Cambridge, England.

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