(20th Sep 2005) MerLion Pharmaceuticals Pte Ltd and Cancer Research Technology Announce Drug Discovery Collaboration .

20th September 2005 - MerLion Pharmaceuticals Pte Ltd (MerLion) (Singapore-based drug discovery company utilising the world's largest and most diverse natural product collection) and Cancer Research Technology Ltd (CRT) (Specialists in oncology drug discovery and commercialisation, a company owned by Cancer Research UK) have entered into a large-scale screening programme to identify new anti-cancer drug candidates derived from natural product chemistry.

“MerLion are very pleased to be working with CRT and the excellent researchers whom they represent” said Dr Tony Buss, CEO of MerLion. “Cancer research in the UK has a deservedly high profile and this collaboration opens up opportunities to find novel drugs for the new generation of cancer targets being discovered there.”

Dr Clive Stanway, Director of Technology Development at CRT commented: “MerLion are world leaders in provision of natural product based drug discovery and therefore CRT are delighted to announce this collaboration.”

Within the collaboration MerLion will screen their natural compound collection against high throughput screens developed by scientists at CRT in order to isolate new therapeutic compounds against validated cancer targets. Targets will be selected from research carried out by Cancer Research UK and CRT’s other prestigious academic partners.

Following the identification of lead compounds, it is anticipated that the expertise in medicinal chemistry both at MerLion and CRT will be utilised to perform compound optimisation. The companies will work in close partnership throughout the target selection and screening process. The results of the collaboration will be jointly owned.

This international partnership follows the Joint Statement on Science, Engineering and Technology signed by Prime Ministers Lee Hsien Loong and Tony Blair on 4th July 2005, building on the UK-Singapore Partners in Science initiative.

Welcoming the collaboration, Mr Ian Pearson MP, UK Minister of State for Trade who is visiting Singapore said “I am delighted that CRT and MerLion Pharma have entered into this collaboration. This is the type of collaboration that was envisaged by our Prime Ministers in July when they signed their joint statement on science. My visit has convinced me that there are many more opportunities for a wide range of UK and Singaporean based businesses and researchers to work together.”

For further information:

MerLion Pharmaceuticals
Chris Molloy, Business Development Manager
+65 6829 5606
Cancer Research Technology Limited
Clive Stanway, Director Technology Development
+44 20 7679 6730

Notes for editors:
MerLion Pharmaceuticals

MerLion Pharmaceuticals Pte Ltd is a privately-held Singapore based pharmaceutical company, focusing on the discovery and development of new drug candidates from natural sources. MerLion Pharma collaborates with leading pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies and research institutes to identify and develop new drug candidates for a wide range of molecular targets.

MerLion Pharma has a strong pipeline of pre-clinical candidates displaying novel chemistry and modes of action. It plans to accelerate development of these compounds towards the clinic whilst maintaining a productive discovery engine, supplying new leads and candidates via collaboration and independently. MerLion Pharma is staffed by over 65 employees and occupies 28,000 square feet of laboratory and office space in the Singapore Science Park. Further information about MerLion Pharmaceuticals can be found at www.merlionpharma.com.

Cancer Research Technology
Cancer Research Technology Limited (CRT) is a specialist technology transfer and development company which aims to develop new discoveries in cancer research for the benefit of cancer patients. CRT is wholly owned by Cancer Research UK, the largest independent funder of cancer research in the world. CRT works closely with leading international cancer scientists and their institutes to protect intellectual property arising from their research and to establish links with commercial partners. CRT facilitates the discovery, development and marketing of new cancer therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics and enabling technologies. Further information about CRT can be found at www.cancertechnology.com.
Cancer Research UK is the world's leading charity dedicated to research on the causes, treatment and prevention of cancer. The charity supports the work of 3,000 scientists, doctors and nurses in over 80 academic centres across the UK, with an annual scientific spend of more than £217 million. Further information about Cancer Research UK can be found at www.cancerresearchuk.org.