Bionomics Signs Option and License Agreement With Merck

Bionomics Signs Option and License Agreement With Merck

Research Will Focus on Discovery of New Pain Treatments

ADELAIDE, South Australia, Jul 31, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE via COMTEX) -- Bionomics Limited (asx:BNO) today announced an agreement with Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, to discover and develop novel small molecule candidates for the treatment of chronic pain, including neuropathic pain.

Under the terms of the agreement, Merck will have the option to exclusively license a compound from Bionomics for development and commercialisation. In return, Bionomics may receive option exercise fees and development and regulatory milestone payments of up to US$172 million. Bionomics may also be eligible for undisclosed royalties on net sales of products from the collaboration. Bionomics retains the right to develop and commercialise certain compounds for which Merck does not exercise its option. The initial period of the research program will be two years.

Dr Deborah Rathjen, CEO & Managing Director of Bionomics, said, "We are very excited to be working with Merck to define new therapies for chronic and neuropathic pain. Bionomics is continuing to deliver on its business model of strategic partnering for the development and commercialisation of selected programs within its pipeline."

Bionomics will use its ionX drug discovery platform and MultiCore chemistry to identify potential drug candidates.

Dr Sue O'Connor, Bionomics' VP Neuroscience Research, commented, "Merck is a global pharmaceutical company and this research collaboration is a strong validation of our drug discovery platforms."

The global pain treatment market recorded sales of US$22 billion in 2010. However, as patent expiries loom, the global market value is anticipated by some analysts to contract to US$18.7 billion by 2016. Within the global pain market the neuropathic pain market is expected to grow from US$2.4 billion in 2010 to reach US$3.6 billion by 2020. (The Pain Outlook to 2013, Scrip Business Insights 2011)

About Bionomics Limited

Bionomics (asx:BNO) is an Australian based international biotechnology company which discovers and develops innovative therapeutics for cancer and diseases of the central nervous system. Bionomics has small molecule and antibody product development programs in the areas of cancer, anxiety, and memory loss. Its oncology approach includes cancer stem cell therapeutics as well as vascular disruption in solid tumours.

BNC105, which is undergoing Phase II clinical development in a range of solid tumour types, is based upon the identification of a novel compound that potently and selectively restricts blood flow within tumours. BNC105 offers blockbuster potential if successfully developed. A clinical program is also underway for the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression based on IW-2143(BNC210), a novel compound which stimulates neurite outgrowth. IW-2143 is partnered with Ironwood Pharmaceuticals.

Bionomics' discovery and development activities are driven by its four proprietary technology platforms: Angene(R), a drug discovery platform which incorporates a variety of genomics tools to identify and validate novel angiogenesis targets (involved in the formation of new blood vessels); MultiCore(R), a diversity orientated chemistry platform for the discovery of small molecule drugs; ionX(R) , a set of novel technologies for the identification of drugs targeting ion channels for diseases of the central nervous system; and CSC Rx Discovery(TM), which identifies antibody and small molecule therapeutics that inhibit the growth of cancer stem cells. These platforms drive Bionomics' pipeline and underpin its established business strategy of securing partners for its key compounds.

Factors Affecting Future Performance

This announcement contains "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of the United States' Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any statements contained in this presentation that relate to prospective events or developments, including, without limitation, statements made regarding Bionomics' development candidates BNC105, IW-2143 (BNC210), BNC101 and BNC375, our acquisition of Eclipse Therapeutics and ability to develop products from their platform, its licensing deal with Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, drug discovery programs and pending patent applications are deemed to be forward-looking statements. Words such as "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," "projects," "forecasts," "will" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. There are a number of important factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements, including risks related to our available funds or existing funding arrangements, a downturn in our customers' markets, our failure to introduce new products or technologies in a timely manner, Ironwood's decisions to continue or not continue development of IW-2143, regulatory changes, risks related to our international operations, our inability to integrate acquired businesses and technologies into our existing business and to our competitive advantages, as well as other factors. Results of studies performed on competitors products may vary from those reported when tested in different settings. Subject to the requirements of any applicable legislation or the listing rules of any stock exchange on which our securities are quoted, we disclaim any intention or obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of developments occurring after the date of this announcement.

CONTACT: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Bionomics Limited Dr Deborah Rathjen CEO & Managing Director +618 8354 6101 / 0418 160 425 [email protected] Monsoon Communications Rudi Michelson +613 9620 3333 [email protected] The Trout Group Lauren Glaser +1 646 378 2972 [email protected]