Bionovo Receives NIH Grant to Develop Drugs for the Treatment of Female-Specific Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

EMERYVILLE, Calif., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Bionovo, Inc. (Nasdaq: BNVI, BNVID) announced today that the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) Small Business Technology Transfer Program, has approved and funded a grant to be shared by Bionovo and Dr. Dale Leitman from the University of California at Berkeley (UCB). The grant will fund the first phase in a planned multi-phase study to evaluate Bionovo's plant derived tissue selective estrogen receptor modulators for preventing obesity and the metabolic syndrome.

Menopause is associated with about a 10-15 pound weight gain and a redistribution of fat to the abdomen. The increase in abdominal fat, also known as visceral fat, is known to cause inflammation which can lead to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome represents a major public health burden because it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. In the US, an estimated 25% of the population (50 million people) is classified as having this condition, which has led to enormous health care expenditures.

"Our laboratory has been collaborating with Bionovo to understand the mechanism of Bionovo's very promising novel selective estrogen receptor modulators to prevent diseases that occur during menopause. This award from NIH is a testament to the potential of Bionovo's compounds to transform hormone therapy for menopausal women and the importance of understanding the biological basis for their unique actions," said Dr. Dale Leitman, M.D., Ph.D. from the Department of Nutrition and Toxicology, University of California, Berkeley. "To date, our results have demonstrated that Bionovo's drugs behave very selectively in that they reduce body mass and fat re-distribution without causing breast or uterine cell proliferation in mice. The funds from NIH will be used to further evaluate their safety in a variety of animal models."

"Gender differences in health and disease are widely known, yet they have not been sufficiently explored by the biopharmaceutical industry. The potential market for drugs for the treatment of female obesity is enormous. This grant will allow Bionovo, a leader in women's health, to continue its groundbreaking research on developing safer, efficacious drugs for the treatment of major health indications that are currently poorly served," said Isaac Cohen, O.M.D., Bionovo's Chairman and CEO. "The treatment of obesity and the prevention of metabolic syndrome are crucial for maintaining the health of women."

About Bionovo, Inc.

Bionovo is a pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of safe and effective treatments for women's health and cancer, markets with significant unmet needs and billions in potential annual revenue. The company applies its expertise in the biology of menopause and cancer to design new drugs derived from botanical sources which have novel mechanisms of action. Based on the results of early and mid-stage clinical trials, Bionovo believes they have discovered new classes of drug candidates within their rich pipeline with the potential to be leaders in their markets. Bionovo is headquartered in Emeryville, California and is traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol, "BNVI, BNVID". For more information about Bionovo and its programs, visit

Forward Looking Statements

This release contains certain forward-looking statements relating to the business of Bionovo, Inc. that can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "believes," "expects," or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, including uncertainties relating to product development, efficacy and safety, regulatory actions or delays, the ability to obtain or maintain patent or other proprietary intellectual property protection, market acceptance, physician acceptance, third party reimbursement, future capital requirements, competition in general and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from those described herein as anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Certain of these risks and uncertainties are or will be described in greater detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are available at Bionovo, Inc. is under no obligation (and expressly disclaims any such obligation) to update or alter its forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

SOURCE Bionovo, Inc.