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Plexus Vaccine Inc Forges Licensing Agreement with Molsoft LLC


Databases SAN DIEGO, September 11, 2001

Molsoft ICM software enables Plexus to develop its proprietary Virtual Epitope™

Plexus Vaccine Inc, a San Diego biotechnology company employing rational drug design principles for vaccine discovery and development, and Molsoft LLC of La Jolla, a leading developer of computational biology technology, have entered into a key licensing agreement to discover and commercialize new interventional strategies for global infectious diseases, for drug-resistant microbes, and for chronic diseases associated with cryptic pathogens. Using the Molsoft ICM software suite, Plexus is developing Virtual Epitope databases of molecular disease targets for in silico design of structural mimics that can be readily synthesized, tested, and formulated as vaccines.

"This alliance represents an opportunity to use Molsoft's molecular modeling software and Plexus Vaccine's structure-based vaccine design to develop epitope-specific vaccines that generate neutralizing antibodies using deduction and mimicry of the 3D structural features of epitopes," said Dr. Ruben Abagyan, Founder of Molsoft. "This approach will hasten the development of safe and effective vaccines." To facilitate maximum communication between Plexus and Molsoft, Dr. Abagyan shall also join the Plexus Vaccine Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Board.

"Recent advances in protein structural prediction, genomics, and bioinformatics have brought new promise for a rational approach to vaccine epitope discovery for genetically variant and cryptic pathogens. Microbes escape drug and immune recognition by genetic variation, or presenting decoy immunodominant epitopes in non-critical domains of pathogenic molecules. Our Structural Pharmacogenomics technology will allow us to more selectively direct the immune response to critical intervention sites," according to Dr. Susan K. Burgess, President & CEO of Plexus Vaccine.

"Plexus will use a broad range of bioinformatics approaches together with sophisticated understanding of both humoral and cellular immunity, to create more effective vaccines," says Dr. Robert Deans, VP of R & D of Plexus. "In addition to the Structural Pharmacogenomics and protein interaction databases for structural epitopes, we are also employing bioinformatics technology developed by Dr. Soren Brunak at the DanishTechnical University to rapidly screen cancer antigens and intracellular parasites for T-cell epitopes. The technology developed by Molsoft allows us to design peptides optimized for MCH presentation across diverse demographic boundaries," adds Dr. Deans.

Plexus Vaccine Inc incorporates the Structural Pharmacogenomics technology pioneered by its founders, Drs. Susan K. Burgess, Edward T. Maggio, and Bernard L. Kasten, and embodied by the VariomeTM Databases created by Structural Bioinformatics Inc. in collaboration with Quest Diagnostics. The Company will apply proprietary advanced bioinformatics analyses against entire genomes of pathogens and their host species to find a new generation of safe and effective vaccines. The Company's mission is to rapidly deliver robust protection from serious disease by using its enabling technology to develop novel vaccine products for human and veterinary markets.

Molsoft, LLC, has been licensing breakthrough software tools for molecular modeling, bioinformatics, and computer-aided drug discovery since 1994. Molsoft's technology is used by major academic institutions, government organizations, and pharmaceutical companies, including the National Institutes of Health, the Karolinska Institute of Sweden, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, and Pharmacia among others.

CONTACTS:
Molsoft, LLC
Crystal Crawford, General Counsel
Telephone: (858) 625-2000, ext 102
crystal@molsoft.com

Plexus Vaccine, Inc.
Susan Burgess, PhD
CEO and President
Telephone: (858) 675-3585
burgess@plexvax.com

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