updated 6/20/2011 3:17:49 PM ET 2011-06-20T19:17:49

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., June 20, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:MNTA), a biotechnology company specializing in the characterization and engineering of complex mixture drugs, today announced that results from a preclinical study of its novel oncology drug candidate, M402, were published in the on-line edition of the journal PLoS ONE ( http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0021106 ).  PLoS One is the online edition of the scientific journal Public Library of Science. M402 is a heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycan (HSGAG) mimetic engineered from low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) to have potent activity against multiple factors involved in tumor angiogenesis, progression and metastasis while displaying highly reduced anticoagulant activity.

"Targeting heparan sulfate proteoglycans represents a novel strategy to treat multiple facets of cancer, as presented in the manuscript," commented Ganesh Venkataraman, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Momenta. "In this study we used our novel anti-cancer compound, M402, to inhibit pathways vital for the progression and metastasis of tumors in several murine models. The resulting data showed that M402, particularly in combination with chemotherapeutic agents, did in fact inhibit spontaneous tumor metastasis and outgrowth of established tumors," he concluded.   

In this study, anti-tumor efficacy was first evaluated in an experimental murine melanoma metastasis model. The data indicated that a single dose of M402 administered prior to tumor inoculation significantly reduced tumor colonization in the lung in a dose-dependent manner, presumably due to inhibiting adhesion of circulating tumor cells to new metastatic sites. Based on these findings, the potential anti-tumor efficacy of M402 was then assessed for the ability to inhibit spontaneous metastasis in an orthotopic murine metastatic breast carcinoma model. In this model, M402 in combination with cisplatin was shown to significantly inhibit tumor cell metastasis to the lung compared to animals treated with cisplatin alone. Subsequent immunohistological analysis showed a decrease in microvessel density in both primary tumors and lung metastases in the M402 treated group, suggesting that anti-angiogenesis may contribute to the anti-tumor effect of M402.

About M402

M402 is a heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycan (HSGAG) mimetic engineered from low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) to have potent anti-metastatic properties and low anticoagulant activity. M402, the Company's second novel product candidate, is in preclinical development. 

About Momenta

Momenta Pharmaceuticals is a biotechnology company, headquartered in Cambridge, MA, specializing in the detailed structural analysis of complex mixture drugs. Momenta is applying its technology to the development of generic versions of complex drug products, as well as to the discovery and development of novel drugs.    

To receive additional information about Momenta, please visit the website at www.momentapharma.com, which does not form a part of this press release.

Forward Looking Statements

Statements in this press release regarding management's future expectations, beliefs, intentions, goals, strategies, plans or prospects, including statements relating to the clinical and efficacy potential of M402 are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as "anticipate," "believe," "could," "could increase the likelihood," "hope," "target," "project," "goals," "potential," "predict," "might," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "is planned," "may," "should," "will," "will enable," "would be expected," "look forward," "may provide," "would" or similar terms, variations of such terms or the negative of those terms. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors referred to in the Company's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the section "Risk Factors," as well as other documents that may be filed by Momenta from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. As a result of such risks, uncertainties and factors, the Company's actual results may differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements discussed in or implied by the forward-looking statements contained herein. Momenta is providing the information in this press release as of this date and assumes no obligations to update the information included in this press release or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Our logo, trademarks, and service marks are the property of Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. All other trade names, trademarks, or service marks are property of their respective owners.

CONTACT: Beverly Holley
         Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
         bholley@momentapharma.com
         617-395-5189

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