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Press Release


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Bionovo Announces Publication of Bezielle™ Effect on Metabolic Fluxes in Breast Cancer

Study Is Published in the International Journal of Cancer

EMERYVILLE, Calif., July 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Bionovo, Inc. (NASDAQ: BNVI), a pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of safe and effective treatments for women's health and cancer, today announced the publication of a study of the metabolic effects of its drug candidate, Bezielle, on cancer cells in the International Journal of Cancer.

"This study confirms and expands our earlier understanding of the mechanism of Bezielle cell killing effect," said Uwe Christians, MD, PhD, Professor, iC42 Integrated Solutions in Systems Biology for Clinical Research and Development, University of Colorado, Denver and Bionovo scientific advisory board member. "Bezielle demonstrates incredible selectivity in killing cancer cells while sparing normal cells. It does this by perturbing oxygen metabolism in the cells, from which normal cells can recover, while cancer cells cannot. Using a combined proteomic and metabolomic approach we discovered and confirmed which proteins and enzymes coordinate this selective activity in breast cancer."

The study describes how Bezielle induces selective death in cancer cells using a combined proteomic and metabolomic analysis. The study identified that Bezielle regulates important proteins controlling proliferation and death, such as Jab1, p27, p21 and nucleophosmin and prohibitin. It also regulates important proteins involved in oxidative stress such peroxiredoxin 2, 3 and 6 as well as thioredoxin reductase 1 and glutathione-S-transferase. This activity is seen in cancer cells but not in normal cells. The metabolomic analysis confirmed our observation that Bezielle inhibits energy production in the cells through inhibition of glycolysis, oxidative phosphorylation and lipid metabolism, and results in energetic collapse and therefore cancer cell death. The study concludes that the mechanism of action for Bezielle's cell killing effect is thereby confirmed by the concordance between the proteomic and metabolomic approaches. The paper, entitled, “Bezielle (BZL101)-induced oxidative stress damage followed by redistribution of metabolic fluxes in breast cancer cells: A combined proteomic and metabolomic study,” is available via Bionovo’s website at and via the International Journal of Cancer website.

"Bezielle research continues to result in important discoveries concerning the selectivity of its action against cancer cells," said Isaac Cohen, OMD, Chairman and CEO of Bionovo, Inc. "It is also important to note that our reverse discovery approach is proving to be powerful, in a time when the pharmaceutical industry is experiencing declining success rate at getting drugs approved. As shown in this study, starting with materials from traditional medicines known to be safe and purported to have efficacy in human diseases, and harnessing modern cutting-edge bioanalytical technologies to investigate and probe into why and how they work, we are able to simultaneously discover and develop drugs with unique novel actions. This approach has dramatically reduced the guess work from our pharmaceutical development."

Bezielle (BZL101)

Bezielle is an oral drug designed for the treatment of advanced breast cancer with a novel mechanism of action. Bezielle targets diseased cells while leaving normal cells healthy and intact. Normal cells depend primarily on the citric acid cycle (>85%) and very little on glycolysis (<7%) for energy production. Cancer cells depend largely on glycolysis (>85%) for energy production. Bezielle stops the production cycle of energy in cancer cells by inhibiting glycolysis. This leads to DNA damage and cell death in cancer cells while normal cells remain unharmed.

There are currently no effective therapeutic cures for advanced breast cancer and treatment is primarily aimed at palliation of symptoms as well as improving overall survival. Over 200,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Although survival after breast cancer treatment is improving, there are still over 40,000 deaths per year due to the disease in the Unites States alone.

Bionovo, Inc.

Bionovo 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.