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ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZIOP) Announces Positive Pre-clinical Data on Darinaparsin in Leukemia Publication

ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZIOP), a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development and commercialization of a diverse, risk-sensitive portfolio of in-licensed cancer drugs to address unmet medical needs, recently announced the publication of results from a pre-clinical study of darinaparsin (ZIO-101) in the July 17, 2008 online advance publication issue of Leukemia, a Nature publication.

Darinaparsin is a proprietary small molecule organic arsenic licensed from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Texas A&M University that induces cell cycle arrest and cell death by targeting several cellular pathways essential for cell survival. The study showed that darinaparsin is highly active in vitro against certain leukemia cells that are resistant to inorganic arsenic (arsenic trioxide–ATO) because they express a drug resistance protein (MRP1/ ABCC1). The study also demonstrated that darinaparsin triggers apoptosis by inducing signaling pathways that do not completely overlap with ATO.

The company believes that this study suggests that darinaparsin may have a broader therapeutic spectrum than inorganic arsenic, as it is less affected by the resistance mechanisms of certain cancer cells. Additionally, the successful application of a treatment that offers inorganic arsenic’s efficacy in acute promyelocytic leukemia, to other more common malignancies, would be significant. ZIOPHARM Oncology plans to continue to compile data from ongoing clinical and pre-clinical studies.

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