Press Release: SRI International Reacquires Rights to Tirapazamine, a Phase III Cancer Drug

SRI International Reacquires Rights to Tirapazamine, a Phase III Cancer Drug MENLO PARK, Calif -- SRI International, an independent nonprofit research and development organization, announced today that it has regained from Sanofi-Aventis all rights to tirapazamine, a cancer drug that reached Phase III clinical trials. The drug is a bioreductively-activated, hypoxia-selective small molecule that acts primarily in hypoxic regions of tumors, wherein tirapazamine radicals cause double-stranded DNA breaks. Additive cell killing through this mechanism would be predicted in combination with other chemotherapeutics and antitumor regimens, including radiotherapy. It was originally identified as an anticancer agent by SRI and Stanford University researchers investigating oxygen deficiency (hypoxia) in solid tumors. "Tirapazamine has been shown to be highly effective in experimental models, and we are interested in finding the right partner to continue clinical development of the drug," said Edward Spack, Ph.D., senior director of business development, SRI Biosciences Division. "To date it has been studied in patients with head and neck, non-small cell lung, ovarian, and other cancers, with mixed results. Clinical studies are continuing, including government and investigator-sponsored trials." About SRI's Biosciences Division SRI International's Biosciences Division is an organization of approximately 200 people with all of the resources necessary to take biological and chemical research programs from "idea to IND"(TM) - from initial discovery to investigational new drug applications to start human clinical trials. SRI Biosciences is a unique organization: it conducts basic research like a university, performs drug discovery and develops biologics like a biotechnology company, and is a contract research organization (CRO) that offers a full range of preclinical development and pharmaceutical sciences services. SRI Biosciences specializes in cancer, immunology, infectious disease, and neurosciences research. To date, SRI has developed nine drugs internally that have entered clinical trials, with several more currently undergoing preclinical evaluation. Marketed examples of these drugs include Targretin® (bexarotene) and Halfan® (halofantrine). Additionally, working with government and industry partners, SRI has helped advance on the order of 100 drugs into clinical trials, and 30 drugs onto the market. Through collaborations with other divisions at SRI, Biosciences is also working at the interfaces of science to create technical platforms for the next generation of drug discovery and development in areas such as drug delivery, devices, diagnostics, and systems biology. About SRI International Silicon Valley-based SRI International ( is one of the world's leading independent research and technology development organizations. Founded as Stanford Research Institute in 1946, SRI has been meeting the strategic needs of clients for 60 years. The nonprofit research institute performs client-sponsored research and development for government agencies, commercial businesses, and private foundations. In addition to conducting contract R&D, SRI licenses its technologies, forms strategic partnerships, and creates spin-off companies. Contact: SRI International Ellie Javadi, 650-859-4874 [email protected] or Dina Basin, 650-859-3845 [email protected]