Newron Reports Initiation of SETTLE, the Second Phase III Clinical

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					Newron Reports Initiation of SETTLE, the Second Phase III Clinical Trial
          of Safinamide in Advanced Parkinson’s Disease

   •   Additional important effects of safinamide noted in ongoing analyses of first Phase
       III clinical trial done in similar patient population (study 016)

Milan, Italy – May 7, 2009 - Newron Pharmaceuticals S.p.A. (“Newron”), a research and
development company focused on novel CNS and pain therapies, and its partner Merck Serono
announced today the initiation of the SETTLE1 study. This study will evaluate the efficacy and
safety of a dose range of safinamide (50-100 mg once daily) as add-on therapy to a stable dose of
levodopa, in mid- to late-stage Parkinson’s disease patients with motor fluctuations compared to

The SETTLE study is one of the Phase III trials that constitute the clinical development program
designed to support an application for marketing authorization as discussed with regulatory
authorities. SETTLE is a six-month (24-week), randomized, double-blind, international Phase III
trial. The trial will involve more than 450 patients with mid- to late-stage idiopathic Parkinson’s
disease (more than five years of disease duration) treated with a stable dose of levodopa for at
least four weeks who have motor fluctuations with more than one and a half hours of “OFF”2 time
during the day. Additionally, patients may be receiving concomitant treatment with stable doses of a
dopamine agonist, a COMT inhibitor, an anticholinergic and/or amantadine. After a four-week
levodopa dosage stabilization phase, study participants will be randomized in one of the two arms
of the trial (1:1) to receive either safinamide or matching placebo tablets, as adjunctive treatment to
levodopa therapy.

The primary endpoint of the trial is the change in daily “ON” time, as assessed by the recordings of
diary cards maintained by patients after prior training, from baseline to week 24. Secondary
endpoints include changes in measures of activities of daily living, global clinical status and health-
related quality of life.

“Managing motor fluctuations and reducing the time during which anti-Parkinson drugs are not
working and symptoms return, the so-called ‘OFF’ times, are still unmet medical needs for patients
with mid- to late-stage Parkinson’s disease,” said Bernhard Kirschbaum, Merck Serono’s Head of
Global Research and Development. “After the encouraging results we obtained for study 016, we
aim to confirm the efficacy of safinamide as an add-on therapy to levodopa in a flexible dosing

Additional results from the analyses of study 016
Additional results from the analyses of study 016 (for which top-line data were reported previously,
showing that safinamide significantly improved motor function in patients with advanced
Parkinson’s disease) are now available and will be shared in detail at the Movement Disorder
Society’s 13th International Congress in Paris in June: safinamide was shown to have a significant
benefit on motor fluctuations (increase in “ON” time, decrease in “OFF” time) at both 50 and
100 mg doses without any increase in “ON” time with troublesome dyskinesias. A statistically
significant reduction in the UPDRS3 part IV scale was seen at both doses. The 100 mg dose was
also shown to improve depressive symptoms in this non-depressed patient population as
measured by the GRID-HAMD4 scale total score, and to result in an improvement of the emotional
well-being as measured by a subscale of the PDQ-395.

“The additional results from study 016 are encouraging and suggest that safinamide could have
benefits beyond motor symptoms, motor fluctuations and activities of daily living. The increase in
‘ON’ time without any increase in troublesome dyskinesia is critical for patients and physicians,”
said Ravi Anand, Newron’s Chief Medical Officer. “Depressive symptoms are important aspects of
PD and the ability of safinamide to improve some of these symptoms in addition to the other
benefits is promising and warrants further studying safinamide as a potential new treatment

Merck Serono has exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize
safinamide in Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other therapeutic applications, as per
the agreement signed with Newron in 2006.

    SETTLE: SafinamidE Treatment as add-on To LEvodopa in idiopathic Parkinson’s disease with motor fluctuations
    “OFF” time refers to the times when people with Parkinson' disease have a decrease in the ability to move
(hypomobility) and other symptoms that cause difficulty rising from a chair, speaking, walking or performing their usual
activities. “OFF” episodes occur because the person' dose of levodopa has worn off or suddenly stopped providing
    The Unified Parkinson’s disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) is one of the most widely used rating scales used to follow the
course of Parkinson’s disease. It is made up of 44 items, scored from 0 to 4, to establish individual patients’ mental
status, activities of daily living, motor function and complications of therapy. These are evaluated by interview and clinical
observation. Part IV rates complications of therapy. This includes several questions about the duration and the severity
of dyskinesias and motor fluctuations.
    The GRID-HAMD is an improved version of the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAMD), the de facto
international gold standard for the assessment of depression. It was developed to provide standardized explicit scoring
conventions and a structured interview guide for administration and scoring of the HAMD.
                                                                                    s-disease-specific measure of
    The Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire (PDQ-39) is the most widely used Parkinson'
health status. It contains thirty-nine questions, covering eight aspects of quality of life. The instrument was developed on
the basis of interviews with people diagnosed with the disease. It has been widely validated, and translated into over fifty

About safinamide
Safinamide, an alpha-aminoamide derivative that is orally formulated, is currently being developed by Merck Serono and
Newron as an add-on treatment for patients with Parkinson’s disease. Safinamide is believed to have a novel dual
mechanism of action based on the enhancement of the dopaminergic function (through reversible inhibition of
monoamine oxidase-B [MAO-B] and dopamine uptake) and reduction of glutamatergic activity by inhibiting glutamate

About Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson' disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that often impairs the patient’s motor skills
and speech. Parkinson' disease belongs to a group of conditions called movement disorders. It is characterized by
muscle rigidity, tremor, a slowing of physical movement (bradykinesia) and, in extreme cases, a loss of physical
movement (akinesia). The primary symptoms are the results of decreased stimulation of the motor cortex by the basal
ganglia, normally caused by the insufficient formation and action of dopamine, which is produced in the dopaminergic
neurons of the brain. Secondary symptoms may include high-level cognitive dysfunction and subtle language problems.
Parkinson’s disease is both chronic and progressive. It is estimated that more than 3 million people in the industrialized
countries suffer from Parkinson’s disease.

About Newron Pharmaceuticals
Newron Pharmaceuticals S.p.A. ( is a biopharmaceutical company focused on novel therapies for dis-
eases of the Central Nervous System and pain. Newron is undertaking phase III trials with safinamide for the treatment
of Parkinson’s disease (PD) in conjunction with its partner, Merck Serono, which has exclusive worldwide rights to de-
velop, manufacture and commercialize the compound in PD, Alzheimer’s disease, and other therapeutic applications.
Newron recently initiated initiated SERENA, a potentially pivotal study with Ralfinamide in patients with neuropathic low
back pain (NLBP). There are no approved drugs for the treatment of NLBP, an indication experienced by about 55 m
patients in the USA, Europe and Japan. Newron is headquartered in Bresso, near Milan, Italy. The company is listed at
SIX Swiss Exchange, trading symbol NWRN.

For more information, contact:

 Media                                                   Investors and analysts
 Luca Benatti - CEO                                      Stefan Weber - CFO
 Phone: +39 02 6103 4 626                                Phone: +39 02 6103 46 30
 E-mail:                                   E-mail:

 UK/Global media
 Julia Phillips
 Financial Dynamics
 Phone: +44 (0) 20 7269 7187

 Martin Meier-Pfister
 IRF Communications
 Phone: +41 43 244 81 40

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