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Myriad Halts Development of HIV Maturation Inhibitor Bevirimat

SUMMARY: Myriad Pharmaceuticals (which is changing its name to Myrexis) will halt development of the investigational HIV maturation inhibitor bevirimat (formerly PA-457, renamed MPC-4326 when Myriad purchased it from Panacos). The company also said it plans to suspend work on this class of HIV drugs and focus on cancer therapies.

By Liz Highleyman

Maturation inhibitors interfere with the final steps of the HIV lifecycle, preventing the formation of functional new virus particles. Within this class, bevirimat was furthest along in the development pipeline.

Bevirimat demonstrated promising activity in early studies, but the tablet formulation had poor bioavailability and produced lower-than-expected response. Researchers later found that individuals with specific HIV Gag gene polymorphisms are more likely to respond to the drug, but about one-third of previously untreated patients -- and even more with protease inhibitor resistance mutations -- showed evidence of decreased susceptibility to bevirimat.

Below is an excerpt from a recent press release from Myriad describing the changes.

Myriad Pharmaceuticals Announces Intent to Focus on Oncology Portfolio

Salt Lake City -- June 8, 2010 (GlobeNewswire via Comtex) -- Myriad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (MYRX 3.85, +0.03, +0.79%) today announced several strategic initiatives to focus the Company's efforts on its oncology pipeline and to conserve its financial resources to extend the Company's projected cash runway beyond 2013.

The Company's initiatives include: the expansion of the Azixa clinical program to include a two-armed temozolomide combination study for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme; the further advancement of the Company's orally bioavailable Hsp90 inhibitor, MPC-3100; the designation of MPC-9528, an exciting novel Nampt inhibitor, as an IND-candidate; the suspension of its HIV maturation program for strategic, business reasons; and a reduction in workforce. The Company will continue to aggressively seek partners for all of its pre-clinical and clinical programs. The Company has reduced its headcount by 21 employees, which when combined with attrition results in a total reduction of 30 employees since July 1, 2009. Among the employees who are leaving the Company are the commercial operations team and two Company officers, Dr. Ed Swabb, SVP Development and Barbara Berry, VP Human Resources.

"Over the last six years Myriad Pharmaceuticals has generated a deep pipeline of oncology assets. After conducting an exhaustive review of our development portfolio and business operations, we have decided to refocus our clinical efforts on oncology, where we believe we can maximize the return on our investments," stated Adrian Hobden, PhD, CEO of Myriad Pharmaceuticals. "Both MPC-4326 and the novel, pre-clinical maturation inhibitor, MPI-0461359, have demonstrated promising safety and efficacy profiles. However, we have decided to suspend further development of these HIV compounds and will seek to partner these compounds as we apply our human and financial resources to our cancer programs."

"I regret that we are having to lose dedicated employees but these actions are in the best long-term interest of the Company. I sincerely thank all of the employees who have each made significant contributions to the Company, particularly those affected by this restructuring," concluded Dr. Hobden.

As of March 31, 2010, the Company had $148.4 million in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities. The Company subsequently received a payment of $12.7 million from Javelin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. pursuant to the termination of the merger agreement between the companies, approximately $8.3 million of which represented all amounts owed to the Company by Javelin under a loan and security agreement that had been entere d into in connection with the proposed merger. In connection with th e current reduction if force, the Company expects to incur a one-time charge of approximately $1.2 million in severance obligations.

"This proactive operational restructuring, allows us to focus our substantial resources to advance our portfolio of exciting oncology candidates," commented Robert Lollini, CFO of Myriad Pharmaceuticals. "In addition, we can continue to draw from the proven productivity of our of internal drug discovery team, whose efforts have generated our current oncology candidate s, to enable us to have a renewable source of drug development candidates for both partnering and for our own proprietary development."

The full release, which further describes the company's cancer candidates, is available at

For more information about Myriad, see


Myriad Pharmaceuticals. Myriad Pharmaceuticals Announces Intent to Focus on Oncology Portfolio. Press release via GlobeNewsWire. June 8, 2010.














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