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Abgenix and U.S. Army Collaborate on Development ofAntibody Countermeasures To Biological Weapons



FREMONT, Calif. --- Abgenix, Inc. announced today a collaboration with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases ("USAMRIID'') to develop antibodies that could potentially protect U.S. troops during biological warfare. Under the agreement, USAMRIID will use the company's XenoMouse technology to make fully human monoclonal antibodies against filoviruses. Filoviruses, such as Ebola virus and Marburg virus, pose a potential threat to U.S. security since they can be used as biological weapons.
; "Treatments for infection by filoviruses are of increasing interest and importance due to the high mortality rate of individuals infected with such viruses,'' stated R. Scott Greer, president and chief executive officer of Abgenix. "We are delighted to be contributing to the Army's efforts to supply troops with countermeasures to these potential weapons.''
; Recent data indicate that antibody therapy may be a viable means of treating a filovirus infection. Data from the Zaire outbreak of 1995 suggest that antibody therapy may have contributed to the survival of seven of the eight individuals who received whole blood from recovering patients who survived an infection of Ebola hemorrhagic fever. In addition, data from animal models indicate that neutralizing antibodies specific for filoviruses, which were generated by immunization with experimental vaccines, were shown to provide protection against filovirus infection in such animal models.
; Antibodies are immune system proteins that can combat many diseases, including infection by viruses. Upon being bound by an antibody, a virus can be blocked from causing damage to normal cells and eliminated from the body. As therapeutic products, monoclonal antibodies have several potential advantages over other therapies. The highly specific interaction between an antibody and its target may, for example, reduce unwanted side effects that plague other therapies. In addition, human or human-like antibodies may persist in patients for several weeks as compared to hours or days for traditional pharmaceuticals.
; USAMRIID, located at Fort Detrick, Maryland, is the lead medical laboratory for the U.S. Army Biological Defense Research Program, and plays a key role in national defense and in infectious disease research. The Institute's mission is to develop medical countermeasures, specifically vaccines, drugs and diagnostics, to protect U.S. service members from biological warfare agents and endemic infectious diseases.
; Abgenix is a biopharmaceutical company that develops and intends to commercialize antibody therapeutic products for the treatment of a variety of disease conditions, including transplant-related diseases, inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
; Abgenix has developed XenoMouse technology, which it believes enables quick generation of high affinity, fully human antibody product candidates to essentially any disease target appropriate for antibody therapy. Abgenix has collaborative arrangements with multiple pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies involving its XenoMouse technology.
; In addition, Abgenix has four proprietary antibody product candidates that are under development internally, two of which are in human clinical trials.;

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Abgenix and U.S. Army Collaborate on Development ofAntibody Countermeasures To Biological Weapons