The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Ensemble Discovery Initiate Research Program to Apply New Technology to Better Diagnose Blood Cancers

Ensemble Therapeutics Corporation

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Ensemble Discovery Initiate Research Program to Apply New Technology to Better Diagnose Blood Cancers

November 13, 2006

First initiative under the Society’s new Therapy Acceleration Program, designed to move new therapies more quickly into the development pipeline

WHITE PLAINS, NY & CAMBRIDGE, MA - (November 13, 2006) – Marking the launch of its new initiative to accelerate the development of blood cancer therapies, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society today announced a collaboration with Ensemble Discovery Corporation of Cambridge, Mass. The Society-funded project will apply Ensemble Discovery’s proprietary technology (known as DNA-Programmed Chemistry) to identify cells responsible for minimal residual disease (MRD) – the low levels of cancer cells that remain even after remission is achieved and which can result in relapse. The goal of the project is to create a sensitive test to detect the protein (BCR-ABL kinase) central to the development of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).

The potential clinical benefit of the test is to develop a better understanding of the disease remission process. MRD cells are resistant to the benefits of the patient’s initial therapy. The test will allow the isolation of these cells and may lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms of resistance. That understanding will enable the appropriate selection of subsequent therapy based on the patient’s disease status.

“Ensemble Discovery's technology has a unique capability that enables the isolation of residual disease causing cells, thereby allowing scientists to focus on strategies to eliminate these cells,” said Brian J. Druker, M.D., Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute, whose research led to the discovery of Gleevec, the frontline targeted therapy for CML patients.

The majority of newly diagnosed CML patients who are treated with Gleevec achieve durable remissions. However, despite these remissions, the disease persists at a low level as minimal residual disease in nearly all patients and most would relapse if therapy is discontinued or if resistance to the drug develops. While this test is directed at CML, it may also have applications for acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), lymphoma, prostate, lung, and breast cancer, stroke and autoimmune diseases.

The contract with Ensemble Discovery Corporation is the first agreement undertaken as part of the Society’s new Therapy Acceleration Program, which supports private sector and academic-based projects with the goal of moving more blood cancer therapies into the development pipeline. The Society will continue to invest in research at the early stages of discovery, but this new initiative is directed at driving development and regulatory approval of new blood cancer therapies at the critical clinical stage.

“While maintaining the Society’s current $60 million annual investment in basic and translational research, the Therapy Acceleration Program will use additional Society resources to bring more therapies to patients faster,” said Louis DeGennaro PhD, the Society’s Senior Vice President, research and director of the Therapy Acceleration Program.

The Society is committed to funding the proof of concept phase of the Ensemble Discovery project. If the concept is proven to work, the Society would provide additional funding to help with the creation of the product.

“We are very pleased to be engaging with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on this program. Our technology can offer unique advantages for simple, sensitive detection of complex proteins such as BCR-ABL (the molecular cause of CML) and signaling pathways implicated in many diseases,” said Dick Begley, President and CEO, Ensemble Discovery Corporation.

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, headquartered in White Plains, NY, with 66 chapters in the United States and Canada, is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services. The Society's mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Since its founding in 1949, the Society has invested more than $483 million in research specifically targeting leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Last year alone, the Society made 4.2 million contacts with patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals.

For more information about blood cancer, visit or call the Society's Information Resource Center (IRC), a call center staffed by master's level social workers, nurses and health educators who provide information, support and resources to patients and their families and caregivers. IRC information specialists are available at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

About Ensemble Discovery Corporation

Based in Cambridge, MA, Ensemble Discovery Corporation is developing a nanochemistry platform to control chemical reactivity, which will transform the way scientists discover new chemicals. Ensemble Discovery is utilizing DNA-Programmed Chemistry (DPC), an innovative method for creating new chemical bonds based on the groundbreaking work of Professor David Liu of Harvard University. For chemical discovery, Ensemble integrates DPC into a nanoscale selection system that combines chemistry, biology and informatics to discover novel compounds. In its diagnostic programs, Ensemble uses DPC to control the generation of detection signals in response to the presence of specific molecular events underlying human diseases. Ensemble aims to generate new products that address significant unmet needs in therapeutics, detection and other specialty chemical markets.

About Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

Leukemia is a malignant disease (cancer) of the bone marrow and blood. It is characterized by the uncontrolled accumulation of blood cells. Chronic leukemia progresses more slowly and allows greater numbers of more mature, functional cells to be made. Most cases of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) occur in adults.

LLS Contact:

Andrea Greif
(914) 821-8958

Ensemble Contact:

Adriana Jenkins
(617) 744-1713