updated 11/9/2010 8:16:23 AM ET 2010-11-09T13:16:23

BERKELEY, Calif., Nov. 9, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- XOMA Ltd. (Nasdaq:XOMA), a leader in the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies, announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today issued two new patents to XOMA as part of the company's expanding intellectual property portfolio around its XOMA 052 antibody to interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta). The patents cover methods of treatment for Type 1 diabetes and certain cancers, including multiple myeloma, using XOMA 052 or other IL-1 beta antibodies with similar binding characteristics to XOMA 052.

"These patents bring the total number of issued U.S. and European patents from the XOMA 052 program to eight," said Steven B. Engle, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of XOMA. "We are succeeding in building a strong IP portfolio to protect our innovation around XOMA 052."

U.S. Patent 7,829,093 relates to methods of treating diabetes mellitus Type 1 with XOMA 052 or other IL-1 beta antibodies having similar binding properties. The second patent, U.S. 7,829,094, relates to methods of treating a cancer with XOMA 052 or other IL-1beta antibodies having similar binding properties, with the cancer being selected from multiple myeloma, acute myelogenous leukemia and chronic myelogenous leukemia. The patents provide coverage to 2026.

Three FDA-approved therapies that target the IL-1 pathway clinically validate the role of IL-1 in multiple diseases. These approved therapies and other IL-1 targeting drug candidates are in clinical development to address significant diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and other inflammation-mediated diseases.

About IL-1 Beta and XOMA 052

IL-1 beta is a pro-inflammatory cytokine recognized to be involved in the development of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and other diseases. Through strong binding to IL-1 beta, XOMA 052 regulates the activation of the IL-1 receptor, thereby inhibiting the cellular signaling events that produce inflammation. Based on its binding properties, specificity for IL-1 beta and half-life, XOMA 052 may provide convenient dosing of once per month or less frequently.

XOMA is conducting two Phase 2 clinical trials of XOMA 052 in patients with Type 2 diabetes and a Phase 2 trial in Type 1 diabetes. XOMA 052 also has demonstrated positive clinical benefit in a proof-of-concept trial for the treatment of vision-threatening uveitis of Behcet's disease. XOMA 052 has been designated an orphan drug for the treatment of Behcet's disease by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency.

About XOMA

XOMA discovers, develops and manufactures novel antibody therapeutics for its own proprietary pipeline as well as through license and collaborative agreements with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and under its contracts with the U.S. government. The company's proprietary product pipeline includes:

  • XOMA 052, an anti-IL-1 beta antibody in Phase 2 clinical development for Type 2 diabetes, Type 1 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, with potential for the treatment of a wide range of inflammatory conditions.
     
  • XOMA 3AB, an antibody candidate in pre-IND studies to neutralize the botulinum toxin, among the most deadly potential bioterror threats, under development through funding provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (Contract # HHSN266200600008C).
     
  • A preclinical pipeline with candidates in development for several diseases.

In addition to its proprietary pipeline, XOMA develops products with premier pharmaceutical companies including Novartis AG, Schering Corporation, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited.

XOMA's technologies have contributed to the success of marketed antibody products, including LUCENTIS(r) (ranibizumab injection) for wet age-related macular degeneration and CIMZIA(r) (certolizumab pegol) for rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease.

The company has a premier antibody discovery and development platform that incorporates an unmatched collection of antibody phage display libraries and proprietary Human Engineering(tm), affinity maturation, Bacterial Cell Expression (BCE) and manufacturing technologies. BCE is a key breakthrough biotechnology for the discovery and manufacturing of antibodies and other proteins. As a result, numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have signed BCE licenses, and several licensed product candidates are in clinical development.

XOMA has a fully integrated product development infrastructure, extending from pre-clinical science to approval. For more information, please visit http://www.xoma.com .

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements contained herein concerning product development and capabilities of XOMA's technologies or that otherwise relate to future periods are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These statements are based on assumptions that may not prove accurate. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated due to certain risks inherent in the biotechnology industry and for companies engaged in the development of new products in a regulated market.

These risks, including those related to the generally unstable nature of current economic conditions; the results of discovery research and pre-clinical testing; the timing or results of pending and future clinical trials (including the design and progress of clinical trials; safety and efficacy of the products being tested; action, inaction or delay by the FDA, European or other regulators or their advisory bodies; and analysis or interpretation by, or submission to, these entities or others of scientific data); changes in the status of existing collaborative and licensing relationships; the ability of collaborators, licensees and other third parties to meet their obligations; XOMA's ability to meet the demands of the United States government agency with which it has entered into its government contracts; competition; market demands for products; scale-up and marketing capabilities; availability of additional licensing or collaboration opportunities; international operations; share price volatility; XOMA's financing needs and opportunities; uncertainties regarding the status of biotechnology patents; uncertainties as to the costs of protecting intellectual property; and risks associated with XOMA's status as a Bermuda company, are described in more detail in XOMA's most recent filing on Form 10-K and in other SEC filings. Consider such risks carefully when considering XOMA's prospects.

The XOMA Ltd. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=5960

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