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Dec 19, 2018

Ziopharm Oncology and TriArm Therapeutics Establish Joint Venture to Develop and Commercialize Sleeping Beauty CAR T in China, Taiwan and Korea

-- Joint venture to operate as Eden BioCell --

-- TriArm Therapeutics, a Panacea Venture Healthcare company, to fund Eden BioCell with up to $35M --

-- Ziopharm to license rights of third-generation Sleeping Beauty CD19-specific CAR-T cell therapies to Eden BioCell --

-- Eden BioCell to be owned equally (50-50) by Ziopharm and TriArm --

-- Ziopharm to host conference call today at 8 a.m. --

BOSTON, Dec. 19, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ziopharm Oncology, Inc. (Nasdaq:ZIOP) and TriArm Therapeutics, Ltd, today announced they will launch Eden BioCell, Ltd. to lead clinical development and commercialization of Sleeping Beauty-generated CAR-T therapies in the People’s Republic of China (including Macau and Hong Kong), Taiwan and Korea. TriArm is a cell therapy company with operations in Germany, China and the United States that was formed by Panacea Venture Healthcare, a fund co-founded and managed by James Huang, Managing Partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers China (KPCB China).

Listen to Dec. 19 conference call.

For the territory of China, Taiwan and Korea, Ziopharm will license the rights to Eden BioCell for third-generation Sleeping Beauty-generated CAR-T therapies targeting the CD19 antigen. Eden BioCell will be owned 50-50 by Ziopharm and TriArm. TriArm has committed up to $35 million to this joint venture. Under the terms of the agreement, Eden BioCell has rights in the region to CAR-T cells very rapidly manufactured in two days or less using the Sleeping Beauty platform to express a CD19-specific CAR and membrane-bound interleukin-15, or mbIL15, along with a kill switch. Ziopharm CEO Laurence Cooper, M.D., Ph.D., and Panacea Venture Healthcare Managing Director James Huang will serve on Eden BioCell’s Board of Directors and each party will share decision-making authority.

“Since 2017, we have been doing diligence on ways to address the many obstacles that exist in the production and commercialization of CAR-T immunotherapy. Viral-based CAR-T therapies already are facing cost constraints and limited commercial success in U.S. and EU markets due to the expense and complexity in manufacturing, and this problem will be exacerbated in China, with its healthcare system, reimbursement structure and large patient population,” said Mr. Huang. “I am excited to be working with Ziopharm’s Sleeping Beauty platform, which, as the most clinically-advanced non-viral approach to genetical modification of T cells, offers the best chance to simplify manufacturing, reduce costs, and most importantly, help the many patients who need access to these T-cell therapies.”

“Advancing our Sleeping Beauty platform in the China region is a key part of both our business development and clinical development strategies,” said Dr. Cooper. “James Huang has an outstanding track record of creating value in China, and he and the team at TriArm are ideal partners because they have entrenched relationships with front-line physicians and officials at leading hospitals and regulatory bodies, a commitment to conduct high-quality trials, and state-of-the-art facilities with good manufacturing practices.”

TriArm will manage all clinical development to execute trials in China for Eden BioCell. The TriArm team has considerable experience in all areas of drug development, including scientific research, clinical and regulatory areas, as well as significant laboratory and manufacturing know-how regarding T-cell therapies.

Griffin Securities, Inc. acted as the financial advisor for Ziopharm for this licensing agreement.

Conference Call
Ziopharm will host a webcast and conference call on Wednesday, Dec. 19, at 8 a.m. ET to discuss this new joint venture. The call can be accessed by dialing 1-844-309-0618 (U.S. and Canada) or 1-661-378-9465 (international). The passcode for the conference call is 3272014. To access live webcast or the subsequent archived recording, visit the “Investors Events and Presentations” section of the Ziopharm website at The webcast will be recorded and available for replay on the Company's website for two weeks.

About Ziopharm Oncology, Inc.
Ziopharm Oncology is an immuno-oncology company focused on developing end-to-end cost-effective solutions using its non-viral Sleeping Beauty platform for TCR and CAR T-cell therapy and immune-stimulating gene therapy with Controlled interleukin 12 (IL-12). The Sleeping Beauty platform genetically modifies T cells with DNA plasmids to express T-cell receptors (TCRs) to target specific antigens in solid tumors and chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) to target CD19 in blood cancers with the Company’s very rapid T-cell manufacturing process. The Sleeping Beauty platform is being advanced in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Eden BioCell. The Company also is developing its Controlled IL-12 platform or Ad-RTS-hIL-12 plus veledimex as monotherapy and in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors to treat brain cancer, including in collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

About TriArm Therapeutics
TriArm Therapeutics is a cell therapy company formed by Panacea Venture with R&D operations in Germany, United States and Greater China region. The company is dedicated to the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases.

About Panacea Venture Healthcare
Panacea Venture Healthcare is a science-focused venture capital firm that invests and incubates early stage life science companies with breakthrough and innovative technologies that can potentially address huge unmet medical needs and enhance quality of life. Panacea Venture’s team consists of partners and venture partners with decades of collective experience in research and development, start-up, operation, finance, business development, sales and marketing, regulatory and investment.

Forward-Looking Statements Disclaimer
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts, and in some cases can be identified by terms such as "may," "will," "could," "expects," "plans," "anticipates," and "believes." These statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the expected timing and closing of the joint venture with TriArm, future funding of Eden BioCell by TriArm, and future service provided by TriArm to Eden BioCell. All such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of the Company, that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: regulatory requirements that may limit the ability to close the joint venture, changes in the Company's financial condition and cash needs, funding or other strategic opportunities that become available to the Company, the Company's ability to finance its operations and business initiatives and obtain funding for such activities; whether Ad-RTS-hIL-12 + veledimex, chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) approaches, and T-cell receptor T-cell (TCR-T) approaches, or any of other product candidates will advance further in the preclinical research or clinical trial process, including receiving clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or other regulatory bodies to conduct its clinical trials in the United States or in other locations and whether and when, if at all, they will receive final approval from the FDA or equivalent foreign regulatory agencies and for which indications; whether Ad-RTS-hIL-12 + veledimex, CAR-T, and TCR-T, and the Company's other therapeutic products it develops will be successfully marketed if approved; the strength and enforceability of the Company's intellectual property rights; competition from other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies; as well as other risk factors contained in the Company's periodic and interim reports filed from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including but not limited to, the risks and uncertainties set forth in the "Risk Factors" section of the Company's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2018 and subsequent reports that the Company may file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements that speak only as of the date hereof, and the Company does not undertake any obligation to revise and disseminate forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof, or to reflect the occurrence of or non-occurrence of any events.

Company contacts:
David Connolly
Vice President, Corporate Communications and Investor Relations

Mike Moyer
Vice President, Portfolio Strategy

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Source: ZIOPHARM Oncology Inc