EMERYVILLE, Calif., Feb. 7, 2012 /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 two studies that characterize the anticancer properties of its drug Bezielle, and that identify the active principles of the drug. The two papers are published in the Journal of the Public Library of Science One.
"There are various strategies to exploit the differences between normal cells and cancer cells that may allow the selective killing of tumor cells," said Dr. Emma Shtivelman, Director of Cancer Biology at Bionovo. "Bezielle takes advantage of a crucial inherent difference in how cancer cells produce energy for survival and rapid replication. Treatment with Bezielle inhibits cancer cells capacity to produce energy, and induces selective cancer cell death. The distinguishing feature of Bezielle is its ability to shut down both major cellular energy-producing pathways in cancer cells. The analysis of the active chemical components of Bezielle reveals important interactions of this drug with the metabolic pathways."
Bezielle has been evaluated in two early stage clinical trials in women with advanced and metastatic breast cancer, and has shown promising efficacy and excellent safety. Bionovo scientists have shown previously that Bezielle is highly selective toward cancer cells and has little cytotoxic activity towards normal cells. The new studies show that the selectivity of Bezielle is based on the inherent differences in the metabolic properties of cancer versus normal cells. Cell energy producing pathways are utilized and regulated differently in tumor cells that are frequently dependent on glycolysis for survival (known as the Warburg effect). They are efficiently targeted by Bezielle to induce energetic collapse and cell death. The normal cells are spared by Bezielle due to their reliance on mitochondrial energy production. In addition to the mechanistic analysis of Bezielle, the new studies provide a chemical analysis of the active compounds within Bezielle that are responsible for the anti-cancer activity of this drug.
"The two current publications continue to show the promise that Bezielle can provide to cancer patients. We hope to be able to initiate the Phase 2 clinical trials, lead by MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, in the near future," said Dr. Isaac Cohen, Chairman and CEO of Bionovo. "Cancer patients should have an oral, non-toxic drug with a unique mechanism of action as an option for cancer treatment."
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 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 http://www.bionovo.com.
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 http://www.sec.gov. 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.