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September 4th, 2008 – Tocris Bioscience announced today the signing of an exclusive deal with AstraZeneca to supply Gefitinib (also known as Iressa  and ZD1839) to preclinical researchers working on the mechanisms underlying cancer development. For the first time, scientists will be able to buy authentic, fully licensed, non-formulated Gefitinib as an off-the shelf product for use in biological research.

In recent years pharmaceutical companies have developed a number of small molecule drugs that are clinically effective against certain types of cancer. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) such as Gefitinib are at the forefront of this new generation of targeted anticancer agents.

Gefitinib is an EGFR-TKI (epidermal growth factor tyrosine kinase inhibitor), which targets and blocks the activity of the EGFR-TK, an enzyme that regulates intracellular signalling pathways implicated in cancer cell proliferation and survival. Growth factor signalling has been identified as a key driver of tumour growth and spread in a wide range of cancers. For clinical use, Gefitinib has been approved for the treatment of advanced Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) in 36 countries.

This molecule has been licensed to Tocris for use as a preclinical research compound only. Strict conditions have been imposed by AstraZeneca to ensure that it is not used in human studies.

Duncan Crawford, Tocris’ Chief Scientific Officer, said, “We know that there is a great deal of interest in Gefitinib from the global research community. By making fully licensed Gefitinib available through our catalogue, we hope to promote new and exciting research in the fundamental processes that drive cancer development. For Tocris this important new product perfectly compliments our comprehensive and expanding range of high purity compounds, which are in use worldwide to further biomedical research. We are delighted that our excellent relationship with AstraZeneca has allowed us to make this compound available to scientists working on the fundamental mechanisms of cancer cell biology”

About Tocris Bioscience
Tocris Bioscience is a leading supplier of high performance chemicals, peptides and antibodies, with customers in virtually all of the world’s major pharmaceutical companies, universities and research institutes. The Company is committed to making new life science discoveries possible by providing the highest performing and most innovative range of research reagents.

Tocris Bioscience products are used by scientists carrying out non-clinical research in fields such as cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and obesity. The Company’s product range of over 2,000 reagents represents a unique collection of novel, exclusive and licensed research tools. A major source of key signal transduction reagents and arguably the world leader in the supply of neuroscience reagents, the Company won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise (International Business) in 2002.

Tocris Bioscience is the trading name for the companies in the Tocris Cookson Group. Formed from the 1994 merger of Tocris Neuramin and Cookson Chemicals, Tocris Cookson Ltd is privately held and headquartered in Bristol, UK. Its US subsidiary, Tocris Cookson Inc, is located in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. There are approximately 50 employees in the Group worldwide, operating out of two sites in the UK and one in the US.

About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of meaningful prescription medicines and supplier for healthcare services. AstraZeneca is one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of $29.55 billion and is a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infectious disease medicines. For more information about AstraZeneca, please visit: