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Devgen drug candidates may promise breakthrough in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases


GHENT, Belgium, August 24, 2006 -- Devgen (Euronext Brussels: DEVG) announced today that, following encouraging results from studies in animals, one of its preclinical programs may show promise for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.

Devgen scientists have discovered compounds that inhibit the secretion of specific hormones that are the primary cause of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints.

A key competitive edge of the Devgen molecules is that they are small molecule drugs that can be orally administered. The current treatments are protein based therapeutics, applied by injection and are costly to produce. Hence, they are infrequently administered early in the development of the disease.

The value of biological drugs indicated for autoimmune diseases, which affect up to 5% of the world population, was roughly $11 billion in 2005.

“Finding orally active TNFa inhibitors is a ’holy grail’ in inflammation research as it may provide patients with convenient, cost effective and hence earlier treatment options in the development of these progressive diseases” says Devgen CEO Thierry Bogaert. “Such inhibitors may furthermore be suitable for treating other inflammatory diseases including inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis”.

Devgen is progressing with the development of its novel inhibitors in additional preclinical models of inflammatory diseases and will conduct further studies to complete a preclinical and partnering package over the next 9 months.

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Devgen is an innovator in biotechnology focused on discovering, developing and commercializing:
# a novel generation of biotech products to protect a wide spectrum of crops from damage incurred from pests;
# safer and more environmentally friendly agro-chemical products to protect crops from damage inflicted by plant parasitic nematodes;
# novel therapeutic concepts and preclinical drug candidates for treatment of metabolic disease (diabetes, obesity, arrhythmia) and inflammation.

Each of these solutions is developed on a platform of in-house designed research, development programs and technologies. Devgen has partnerships with industry leaders in biotechnology and agro chemistry. Incorporated in 1997, Devgen has offices in Ghent (Belgium) and Singapore, with a total work force of over 100 people.


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