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Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Grants $3.5 Million in Biotech Investment Awards


NORWALK, Conn. — January 23, 2008
Innovative Grants Program Bridges Funding Gap to Advance Myeloma Therapies

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) today announced that it has awarded a $1.5 million grant to Serenex, Inc. and $1 million grants to Acceleron Pharma, Inc. and MannKind Corporation through its 2007 Biotech Investment Awards program, a multi-year, results-driven commitment to fund the development of innovative and effective treatments. Based on the achievement of clearly-defined milestones, the MMRF will commit up to $8.8 million over the next three years to this program.

The MMRF Biotech Investment Awards program has already seen impressive results. Semafore, one of the first grantees of the Biotech Investment Awards, was awarded funding to support the early development of its targeted PI3 kinase (PI3K) inhibitor, SF1126, in multiple myeloma. In less than a year after receiving this funding, Semafore initiated a Phase I clinical trial of SF1126 through the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC), the MMRF's sister organization.

"Funding for pre-clinical research and early-stage clinical trials is extremely limited, especially in orphan cancers like multiple myeloma, which have a relatively small commercial market. The MMRF Biotech Investment Awards bridge this critical funding gap so that better, more effective treatments can be more rapidly developed," said Kathy Giusti, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the MMRF.

The 2007 MMRF Biotech Investment Awards will support the early development of two novel therapies, Serenex's SNX-5422, an oral Hsp90 inhibitor, and Acceleron's ACE-011, a novel bone formation agent. The 2007 MMRF Biotech Investment Awards will also support MannKind in ongoing optimization of a research program focused on a novel target for the treatment of multiple myeloma.

"I am personally committed to developing products to address unmet medical need in cancer," said Alfred Mann, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MannKind. "MannKind has several programs in the research and early development phase and I am proud of the team's innovative approach in this area. This collaboration provides additional external validation of the importance of this work."

About Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is an incurable cancer of the plasma cell. The five-year relative survival rate for multiple myeloma is approximately 33%, one of the lowest of all cancers. In 2007, an estimated 19,900 adults (10,960 men and 8,940 women) in the United States were diagnosed with multiple myeloma and an estimated 10,790 people died from the disease.

About the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) was established in 1998 as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization by twin sisters Karen Andrews and Kathy Giusti, soon after Kathy's diagnosis with multiple myeloma. The mission of the MMRF is to urgently and aggressively fund research that will lead to the development of new treatments for multiple myeloma. As the world's number-one funder of multiple myeloma research, the MMRF has raised over $102 million since its inception to fund 70 laboratories worldwide. The payback on its investment has been significant, including the approval of four new treatments in four years alone. Today, the MMRF is supporting 30 new compounds and approaches now in clinical trials and pre-clinical studies and has facilitated 10 clinical trials through its sister organization, the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC). For more information about the MMRF, please visit www.themmrf.org.