PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 2, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc. (NYSE MKT:HEB) (the "Company" or "Hemispherx") today announced that it is supporting the University of Pittsburgh's National Institutes of Health funded study (grant 1PO1CA132714) currently underway as part of the University's Chemokine Modulation Research initiative which includes Ampligen® as an adjuvant. As part of this collaboration, Hemispherx has supplied clinical grade Ampligen® (rintatolimod) to the University. The study, under the leadership of professor of surgery Pawel Kalinski, M.D., Ph.D. and involves the Chemokine Modulatory regimen developed by Dr. Kalinski's group, has successfully completed the lowest tier of dose escalation in patients with resectable colorectal cancer under the clinical leadership of Dr. Amer Zureikat, an assistant professor of surgery. The preliminary results were presented at The Cancer Vaccines and Gene Therapy Meeting, Malvern, PA, October 3-4, 2013.
This collaboration expands the Company's current collaborations with several other comprehensive cancer care centers (see Hemispherx Press releases August 22, 2011 and June 21, 2011) conducting preclinical and clinical research into the modulation of cancer immunity to discover the best ways to activate the immune system to recognize and eradicate cancer. Ampligen ® is an experimental Toll Like Receptor 3 (TLR3) agonist with immune modulatory properties that modify the character of patient's immunity.
Dr. Kalinski recently demonstrated that carefully coordinated administration of selected immune modulatory agents, including TLR3 agonists, type I interferons, and cyclooxygenase inhibitors, in conjunction with immunization strategies, substantially alters the character of induced immunity, the nature of cellular infiltrates, and the natural history of the induced immune response. The findings of Dr. Kalinski and collaborators were published last year (Muthuswamy et al Cancer Research 72(15):3735-43,2012) and further updated in his recent presentation. Dr. William Carter, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer at Hemispherx commented, "We are pleased to provide Ampligen® to help facilitate the important work ongoing at the University of Pittsburgh." More information on this research program utilizing Ampligen ® as an adjuvant component to help alter the immunological microenvironment around tumors to boost anti-tumor response can be found at: http://www.upmc.com/media/NewsReleases/2013/Pages/pitt-team-aims-to-change-tissue-microenvironment-to-fend-off-cancerous-tumors.aspx.Hemispherx views the potential use of Ampligen ® as a component of cancer immunotherapy to be an important research area and a significant opportunity of the Company's product development. The Company's near term focus in cancer is to engage in a series of collaborations with renowned cancer research experts at premier institutions to help define the best mode of integrating Ampligen ® into immunotherapy strategies for the treatment of cancer. About Hemispherx Biopharma Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc. is an advanced specialty pharmaceutical company engaged in the manufacture and clinical development of new drug entities for treatment of seriously debilitating disorders. Hemispherx's flagship products include Alferon N Injection® and the experimental therapeutics Ampligen® and Alferon® LDO. Ampligen® is an experimental RNA nucleic acid being developed for globally important debilitating diseases and disorders of the immune system, including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Hemispherx's platform technology includes components for potential treatment of various severely debilitating and life threatening diseases. Because both Ampligen® and Alferon® LDO are experimental in nature, they are not designated safe and effective by a regulatory authority for general use and are legally available only through clinical trials. Hemispherx has patents comprising its core intellectual property estate and a fully commercialized product (Alferon N Injection®), approved for sale in the U.S. and Argentina. The FDA approval of Alferon N Injection® is limited to the treatment of refractory or recurrent external genital warts in patients 18 years of age or older. The Company's Alferon N Injection® approval in Argentina includes the use of Alferon N Injection® (under the brand name "Naturaferon") for use in any patients who fail, or become intolerant to recombinant interferon, including patients with chronic active hepatitis C infection. The Company wholly owns and exclusively operates a GMP certified manufacturing facility in the United States for commercial products. For more information please visit www.hemispherx.net . Forward-Looking Statements The foregoing release contains forward-looking statements that can be identified by words such as "will be, investigative, interim, potential" or similar terms, or by express or implied discussions regarding potential efficacy for Hemispherx's Ampligen®, or regarding potential future revenues from Ampligen®. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on the current beliefs and expectations of Management regarding future events, and are subject to significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. There can be no guarantee that Ampligen® will receive regulatory approval or be commercially successful in the future. In particular, management's expectations regarding Ampligen® could be affected by, among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, including unexpected clinical trial results and additional analysis of existing clinical data; unexpected regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; the Company's ability to obtain or maintain proprietary intellectual property protection; general economic and industry conditions; global trends toward health care cost containment, including ongoing pricing pressures; unexpected manufacturing issues, and other risks and factors described in Hemispherx's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the most recent reports on Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K on file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Hemispherx is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.