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Press Release


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Bionovo Announces Publication Describing the Selective Anti-tumor Activity of its Drug Candidate BN108

EMERYVILLE, Calif., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Bionovo, Inc. (Nasdaq: BNVI) today announced the publication in the peer-reviewed, open-access journal Public Library of Science One (PLoS ONE) of a paper describing the molecular mechanisms underlying the selective cytotoxic activity of its drug candidate BN108 and its active compound, timosaponin AIII.

The mTOR complex regulates cell growth, cell proliferation, cell motility, cell survival, protein synthesis, and transcription. The disregulation of the mTOR pathway is implicated as a contributing factor in various cancers which makes mTORC1 an attractive therapeutic target. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) serves many general functions, including the facilitation of protein folding and the transport of synthesized proteins to the cell membrane. ER stress is elicited by a wide variety of conditions including nutrient deprivation, impaired protein degradation or secretion, calcium imbalance and treatment with some chemotherapeutic drugs. By inhibiting mTORC1 and inducing ER stress BN108 and TAIII activate cell suicide, or apoptosis. Because these drugs do not inhibit mTORC1 and induce little ER stress in normal cells, they selectively kill tumor cells. In addition, BN108 is administered orally, which should increase its utility as an agent that can be given for extended durations for the treatment of various cancers.

"BN108 and timosaponin AIII (TAIII) are cytotoxic towards tumor cells but significantly less to normal cells," said Emma Shtivelman, Ph.D., Director of Cancer Research at Bionovo. "BN108 and TAIII kill tumor cells by eliciting two responses: first, they inhibit the oncogenic pathway known as mTORC1 that is abnormally activated in many tumors. Second, they induce a profound stress in the endoplasmic reticulum of tumor cells. This dual effect of the drug on tumor cells leads to their demise. Normal cells do not have a highly active mTORC1, and TAIII has no effect on the basal activity of this pathway in non-cancerous cells. Therefore, after treatment with the same dose of TAIII or BN108, tumor cells succumb to death, while normal cells survive."

Isaac Cohen, O.M.D., Bionovo's Chairman and CEO, stated: "An important feature of any new anti cancer therapy is the drug's selectivity toward cancer cells, which should result in low toxicity, thus allowing it to be administered for a long duration. BN108 and its active component TAIII, orally administered, have a promising future for treatment of cancer because of their apparent ability to kill cancer cells while sparing normal cells. BN108 and TAIII are part of Bionovo's broad pipeline of novel selective anticancer agents."

About Bionovo, Inc.

Bionovo, Inc. is a pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of safe and effective treatments for women's health and cancer, markets with significant unmet needs and billions in potential annual revenue. The company applies its expertise in the biology of menopause and cancer to design new drugs derived from botanical sources which have novel mechanisms of action. Based on the results of early and mid-stage clinical trials, Bionovo believes they have discovered new classes of drug candidates within their rich pipeline with the potential to be leaders in their markets. Bionovo is headquartered in Emeryville, California and is traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol, "BNVI". For more information about Bionovo and its programs, visit:

Forward Looking Statements

This release contains certain forward-looking statements relating to the business of Bionovo, Inc. that can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "believes," "expects," or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, including uncertainties relating to product development, efficacy and safety, regulatory actions or delays, the ability to obtain or maintain patent or other proprietary intellectual property protection, market acceptance, physician acceptance, third party reimbursement, future capital requirements, competition in general and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from those described herein as anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Certain of these risks and uncertainties are or will be described in greater detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are available at Bionovo, Inc. is under no obligation (and expressly disclaims any such obligation) to update or alter its forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

SOURCE Bionovo, Inc.

Claire Fong or Tom Chesterman, both of Bionovo, Inc.
Joe Diaz, Robert Blum or Joe Dorame, all of Lytham Partners, LLC
for Bionovo, Inc.