updated 11/8/2010 8:16:09 AM ET 2010-11-08T13:16:09

SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 8, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Myrexis, Inc. (Nasdaq:MYRX), a biotechnology company focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing novel treatments for cancer, today presented key preclinical findings of the Company's novel oral anti-interferon (OAI), MPI-0485520, at the 74th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ACR/ARHP), in Atlanta, Georgia.

A poster titled, "Inhibition of Cytosolic Nucleic Acid Receptor Pathways Using the Small Molecule IKKepsilon/TBK1 Kinase Inhibitor." showed that MPI-0485520 effectively suppressed the induction of several key pro-inflammatory proteins in vitro. The data supports the further evaluation of MPI-0485520 for the treatment of autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

"Our studies suggest MPI-0485520 may be an effective treatment for many autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus" said Robert Carlson, Ph.D., Vice President and Head of Research at Myrexis. "MPI-0485520 inhibits production of type-1 interferon response and by blocking this response with our IKKepsilon inhibitor, there is the potential for disrupting disease processes."

Key Findings:

MPI-0485520 is a potent and selective inhibitor of key pro-inflammatory kinases

MPI-0485520 inhibits the activity of I kappa B kinase epsilon (IKK epsilon) and TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1), with picomolar potency. Conversely, MPI-0485520 did not significantly inhibit the activity of more than the 140 human kinases also tested in this study.

MPI-0485520 suppresses on-target pro-inflammatory cytokines, including IFNalpha/beta and downstream interferon-stimulated genes

The Company demonstrated that MPI-0485520 selectively inhibited production of many of the well known pro-inflammatory cytokines that are often induced in a diseased state. MPI-0485520 specifically suppressed the induction of type-1 interferon and several downstream interferon-stimulated genes including most notably, B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS). BLys which is the target of belimumab which is currently under review by the FDA for treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Unlike potential competitors, MPI-0485520 is a small molecule, rather than a biologic and therefore may be developed as a daily oral therapy, and Furthermore, MPI-0485520 it targets a more central immune response regulator and thus has the potential to be effective against a variety of autoimmune diseases.

In addition, currently unpublished studies show that MPI-0485520 potently, and in a dose-dependent manner, inhibits the development of the rheumatoid arthritis phenotype in the most commonly used pre-clinical model of the disease. These results further validate this exciting new target and reveal the potential to develop effective small molecule therapeutics for a wide variety of autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The Company looks forward to presenting these results and the supporting data at up-coming scientific conferences.

A copy of the poster presented by Myrexis at the 74th Annual Scientific Meeting of the ACR/ARHP earlier today in Atlanta, Georgia, is available on-line at the Company's website, www.myrexis.com.

About Myrexis, Inc.

Myrexis, Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing novel treatments for cancer. The Company has leveraged a unique understanding of the genetic causes of human disease to generate a strong pipeline of clinical and preclinical product candidates. These include compounds with distinct mechanisms of action and novel chemical structures that have first-in-class and/or best-in-class therapeutic potential. Myrexis is led by an experienced management team with expertise in human genetics, protein-protein interaction technology, chemical proteomic, drug discovery and clinical and commercial development.

For more information, please visit www.myrexis.com

Forward-looking statement safe harbor

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements relating to the attributes and potential efficacy of Myrexis' product candidate MPI-0485220. These "forward-looking statements" are based on management's current expectations of future events and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially and adversely from those set forth in or implied by forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the factors discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" contained in Myrexis' Form 10-K, for the year ended June 30, 2010, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on September 13, 2010, as well as any updates to those risk factors filed from time to time in Myrexis' Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q or Current Reports on Form 8-K. All information in this press release is as of the date of the release, and Myrexis undertakes no duty to update this information unless required by law.

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