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Monday, 04/14/2008 11:10:54 AM

Monday, April 14, 2008 11:10:54 AM

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Avalon Pharmaceuticals Identifies Small Molecule Inhibitors of the Aurora/Centrosome Cancer Pathway that Block PLK3 Protein Function
Monday April 14, 11:00 am ET

GERMANTOWN, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Avalon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: AVRX - News), announced today that it has used AvalonRx®, its biomarker based drug discovery system, to identify small molecule inhibitors of the Aurora/Centrosome pathway, and to reveal the protein targeted by these compounds. Their findings were announced today in a poster presentation entitled “Identification of Small Molecule Inhibitors of the Aurora/Centrosome Pathway,” at the American Association for Cancer Research 2008 Annual Meeting, in San Diego, CA.

These inhibitors potently induce death in cancer cells and inhibit the Polo-Like Kinase 3 (PLK3) protein, a key node in the centrosome pathway. The Aurora/Centrosome pathway is critical for control of cellular growth and chromosomal integrity in cancer cells, and is frequently misregulated in cancer.

“The Aurora/Centrosome pathway is important in many cancers; therefore, we believe that the identification of these allosteric inhibitors of the PLK3 protein is a significant advancement in the development of potential therapeutics for cancer,” said Dr. Stephen Horrigan, Avalon’s Vice President of Research.

Compounds in Avalon's lead small molecule series have broad activity in cell lines from multiple cancers, while acting as selective allosteric inhibitors of the PLK3 protein. PLK3 has been recognized as a key regulator of cancer cell function whose activation has been implicated in multiple cancer types, including breast, lung and stomach.