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Edward J. Phillips, Son of "Dear Abby" and Creator of Belvedere Vodka, Donates $1 Million to Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium


New Canaan, Conn. — January 27, 2005
Funds Allocated for Research for Uncommon Cancer of the Plasma Cell

The Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC) has received a $1 million grant from Edward J. Phillips and his wife, Leslye; Mr. Phillips is the son of the creator of the world renowned column, "Dear Abby", and was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2003. Mr. Phillips is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Millennium Import LLC, makers of Belvedere and Chopin vodkas, and a partner with Moët Hennessy, a division of the world's leading luxury goods manufacturer LVMH, Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy.

Mr. Phillips' donation was given to the MMRC with a request for a matching gift of an additional $1 million by the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation to support MMRC research and drug discovery process for multiple myeloma, a cancer or the plasma cell, which is currently incurable but treatable.

"After I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, I became aware of the passion and commitment of Kathy Giusti, MMRCs' President and Founder, and the efficient work that the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium is doing to find a cure for this disease," said Mr. Phillips. "The MMRC has made it possible to put needed resources behind this uncommon disease, helping thousands of people each year." After a successful stem cell transplant and chemotherapy, Mr. Phillips is in remission.

There are approximately 50,000 people in the United States living with multiple myeloma and each year an estimated 11,070 people die from the disease. Multiple myeloma is the second most prevalent blood cancer after non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

"We are grateful to Eddie and Leslye for giving us such a generous donation knowing that his gift will be used to directly fight multiple myeloma," says Kathy Giusti. "This funding for the MMRC will help us to fulfill our mission to accelerate drug development and a cure for this disease by bringing together the top people in myeloma research with the most state-of-the-art technology."

The MMRC is the only consortium to integrate the leading academic institutions specializing in multiple myeloma to focus on the identification and validation of molecular targets for multiple myeloma, the discovery of drugs against these targets and expediting the early phase trials of these drugs. The ultimate goal of the new Consortium is to rapidly advance the drug development process and find a cure for multiple myeloma.

MMRC Member Institutions include Dana–Farber Cancer Institute, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, Mayo Clinic and University Health Network (Princess Margaret Hospital). These institutions were selected based on their National Institutes of Health grant awards, number of peer-reviewed publications, clinical expertise and collaborative approach to science.

The MMRC Tissue Bank serves as an invaluable resource of tissue and corresponding clinical and genomic data necessary to develop new, targeted therapies. All samples maintained within the Tissue Bank are collected, analyzed and stored in adherence with government-regulated Good Laboratory Practice standards. This centralized repository enable scientists from academia and industry to identify and validate molecular targets for multiple myeloma, which speed up the research and development process for new drugs and therapies against the disease and help to bring these drugs to market faster.

Complementing the MMRC Tissue Bank is the MMRC Data Bank, a state–of–the–art system that integrates laboratory and clinical trial data into one common interface, allowing researchers to effectively conduct early phase trials with a focus on correlative science. MMRC Member Institutions conduct research in three multi-site research cores: Genomics, Validation and Clinical Trials that remain highly integrated.

About Millennium Import

In 2002, Millennium Import LLC partnered with Moët Hennessy to introduce and distribute Belvedere and Chopin vodkas in major markets outside the United States. Moët Hennessy, a division of famed luxury goods company LVMH, Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, is the world's leading luxury wines and spirits group, with such world brands as Moët & Chandon, Dom Pérignon, Veuve Clicquot and Hennessy. LVMH recently increased its holdings in Millennium to 70%.

Millennium Import LLC is the controlling shareholder of the Zyrardów Distillery located near Warsaw, Poland, and owns the exclusive worldwide rights to Belvedere and Chopin, the world's TWO original luxury vodkas. Millennium Import LLC is a DIVISION of Phillips Beverage Company, a family managed business since 1912, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Moët Hennessy of Paris-based Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy.

About the MMRC

The Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC) is a 509a3 non–profit organization that integrates leading academic institutions to accelerate drug development in multiple myeloma. The MMRC was founded by Kathy Giusti, the founder and president of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, which is an early investor in the MMRC. The MMRC was created to rapidly address critical challenges in accelerating drug development and explore opportunities in the most promising areas of myeloma research. The MMRC is the only consortium to join academic institutions through membership agreements, customized IT systems and an integrated tissue bank. For more information, please visit www.themmrc.org.

For more information, contact Elizabeth McGrath Zortman, Environics Communications at 203-325-8772, 28 or ezortman@environics-usa.com.

For information, contact:
Anne Quinn Young, MMRF, 203-652-0212, quinnyoung@www.themmrf.org