BioXell Announces the Discovery of a Receptor Implicated in the Development of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Milan, ITALY

MILAN, Italy, June 26, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- BioXell SpA today announced the publication of a study in the May issue of The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine on the identification of the receptor CXCR3 as a protein associated with the inflammatory process underlying Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

The findings, described in the paper entitled "Increased Expression of the Chemokine Receptor CXCR3 and its Ligand CXCL10 in Peripheral Airways of Smokers with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease," were made by a team of scientists at BioXell and pneumologists at the Universities of Padova and Modena, headed up by Francesco Sinigaglia, CEO of BioXell and Leonardo M. Fabbri Chairman of the Department of Respiratory Diseases at the University of Modena.

CXCR3 is a member of a family of receptors that allow the cells responsible for the inflammatory process to migrate from the blood circulation to tissues at sites of inflammation, in this case, the lung. The discovery that expression of CXCR3 is restricted to COPD, as opposed to other inflammatory diseases of the lung, provides a key molecular target to develop new drugs capable of inhibiting the inflammatory response associated with the illness.

COPD is a debilitating and progressive disease involving components of chronic bronchitis, chronic airway obstruction and emphysema. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, with a mortality rate of over 100,000 per annum.

Paola PaninaBordignon, PhD, director of Target Validation at BioXell, said: "This discovery gives us the potential to correct the underlying molecular abnormalities that lead to COPD by inhibiting the inflammatory response."

About BioXell

BioXell is a private research and development biopharmaceutical company with a competitive edge in immunology developing two strong technology platforms based on the TREM receptor system and Vitamin D3 analogues. From these, BioXell has identified molecules to be developed in secondary hyperparathyroidism and benign prostatic hyperplasia. In addition, the Company has research programmes in inflammatory diseases including asthma, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. In March 2002, BioXell raised $22m in a firstround of financing from a consortium of three toptier venture capital firms: MPM Capital, Index Ventures and Life Sciences Partners. BioXell has a network of academic collaborations, including Washington University, St. Louis and the Universities of Arkansas, Milan, Florence, Modena and Zurich.


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