Inhibiting Inflammatory Responses, Three Scientists Awarded 2020 Tang Prize in Biopharmaceutical Science

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TAIPEI, TAIWAN – Media OutReach – 19 June 2020
– Charles Dinarello (US), Marc Feldmann (UK/Australia) and Tadamitsu
Kishimoto (Japan) were announced joint winners of the 2020 Tang Prize in Biopharmacuetical Science
today (June 19) “for the development of cytokine-targeting biological therapies
for treatment of inflammatory diseases.” 

Adding to Dr. Kishimoto’s joy of winning the
prize with old friends Dr. Feldmann and Dr. Dinarello is the fact that the
basic research they spent almost a century on has made a positive contribution
to medical science and has even showed the potential to help patients suffering
from Covid-19.

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How can medications that treat inflammatory
diseases also be used to combat Covid-19? Many patients with severe Covid-19
can be affected by the so-called “cytokine storm syndrome.” A cytokine storm is
also an inflammatory reaction which occurs when the body’s immune system goes
awry and releases an excess of cytokines that not only attack invaders but also
start to set upon healthy cells, causing damage to body tissues and organs.
Covid-19 is not the only disease that can turn our immune systems against ourselves.
Another immune disorder which may cause serious complications and could be
fatal is “autoimmune disease,” a type of inflammatory disease that can wreak
mayhem in the daily life of 5-10% of the global population. 

When little was known about cytokines, these
three scientists carried out groundbreaking research which revealed their
crucial roles as inflammatory mediators. Tumor necrosis factors (TNF),
interleukin-1(IL-1) and interleukin-6(IL-6) are among the most investigated
cytokines by the scientific community and biologics targeting them are among
the most widely used biopharmaceuticals. The Tang Prize awardees have all made
transformative contributions to the discovery and/or therapeutic development
targeting these three cytokines. 

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Despite its name, the main job of tumor
necrosis factors, as was found out later, is to regulate immune cells. Dr. Marc
Feldmann, professor at the University of Oxford, was interested in the study of
rheumatoid arthritis, which is one of the most common autoimmune diseases in
the world. Dr. Feldmann was the first to demonstrate that diseased joints of
those with rheumatoid arthritis have far more pro-inflammatory cytokines than
normal, and identified TNF as the key one. After overcoming considerable
skepticism, he finally convinced a pharmaceutical company to work with him and
successfully developed an anti-TNF antibody that proved very effective against
rheumatoid arthritis. The remarkable advance they made in the treatment of
autoimmune and inflammatory diseases thus enabled patients debilitated by this
degenerative condition to regain control of their lives.

IL-1 was the first cytokine to be identified
and shown to be a central mediator of inflammation. Dr. Charles Dinarello,
currently professor of medicine at the University of Colorado, is considered
one of the founding fathers of cytokines and credited with the discovery and
purification of the protein IL-1b, as well as cloning the gene encoded on it.
Subsequently, another related protein was identified by other groups and named
IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra), which can block the biological activity of
IL-1. A recombinant version of IL-1Ra was developed for the treatment of
rheumatoid arthritis and later received FDA approval. These clinical
achievements established IL-1 as potent mediators of fever and inflammation,
led to the development of therapeutics for this important cytokine, and support
Dr. Dinarello’s contributions to cytokine biology and the pathogenesis of
inflammatory diseases.  

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Dr. Tadamitsu Kishimoto, professor at Osaka
University, discovered and cloned IL-6, a cytokine that regulates antibody
production. His group later identified and cloned its receptor and demonstrated
the involvement of IL-6 in the pathogenesis of various inflammatory diseases.
He then prepared a monoclonal anti-IL-6 receptor antibody and helped conduct
large-scale trials on the efficacy and safety of the antibody in patients with
rheumatoid arthritis as well as children with juvenile arthritis. Dr.
Kishimoto’s work transformed the cytokine field and converted it from
descriptive biology to modern molecular science and medicine. His work has also
led to major clinical breakthroughs and development of new therapeutics for
severe multi-organ chronic diseases. The contributions of Dr. Kishimoto
encompass basic discovery, hypothesis forming, drug discovery and clinical
translation, a true bench to bedside example.

In summary, the pioneering work of Drs.
Feldmann, Dinarello and Kishimoto led to the development of biopharmaceuticals
that have brought relief to millions of people tormented by autoimmune or
inflammatory diseases.

All three cytokines are critically involved
in the pathogenesis of a variety of diseases. Of special note is their critical
roles in cytokine storms caused by Covid-19. Since biologics targeting the
three cytokines respectively can inhibit cytokine actions, they have been
either used successfully to treat cytokine storms in Covid-19 patients or are
being investigated as a therapy, giving people much to hope for, at a time when
the pandemic continues to rip through the planet. 

Established
by Taiwanese entrepreneur Dr. Samuel Yin, the biannual Tang Prize consists of
four categories, namely Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science,
Sinology and Rule of Law, with NT$ 40 million (approx. US$1.3 million) in cash
prize and a research grant of NT$ 10 million (approx. US$0.33 million)
allocated to each category. It aims to promote the interaction and cooperation
between culture and technology so as to find a 21st century path to
the sustainable development of the world. For more information, please visit
the prize’s official website at https://www.tang-prize.org/en/first.php

About Tang Prize

Dr.
Samuel Yin, chairman of Ruentex Group, founded the Tang Prize in December of
2012 as an extension of the supreme value his family placed on education.
Harkening back to the golden age of the Tang Dynasty in Chinese history, the
Tang Prize seeks to be an inspiring force for people working in all corners of
the world. For more information on the Tang Prize and its laureates, please
visit www.tang-prize.org

Inhibiting Inflammatory Responses, Three Scientists Awarded 2020 Tang Prize in Biopharmaceutical Science

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Latest News

Cityneon Raises S$235 Million; Well Positioned for Next Growth Chapter

  • The global experience entertainment company gets a S$235 million shot in the arm, closes its private fund raising in April 2021
  • Investors both new and existing include Singapore's Pavilion Capital, Seatown Holdings International and EDBI, Qatar's Doha Venture Capital and financial institutions and family offices in Singapore and China
  • These now join other existing Cityneon shareholders CITIC Capital, veteran entrepreneur and investor Mr. Johnson Ko, and Executive Chairman & Group CEO Mr. Ron Tan
  • Funding comes just after the Group acquired multi-year licensing rights for James Cameron's AVATAR touring exhibition, and two original artefacts IP on the ancient civilization Machu Picchu from Peru and Ramses the Great (Ramses II) from Egypt
  • Investments position the Group well to bring experiences across the globe, targeting to launch six experiences in China and five in the U.S. by the end of 2021, with more in other parts of the world
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SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 21 April 2021 - Cityneon Holdings ("Cityneon", the "Company"/collectively with its subsidiaries, the "Group") raised S$235 million in the most recent round of private funding. The latest round of funding adds seasoned investors to Cityneon's already strong stable of shareholders.

This funding round was led by Singapore's Pavilion Capital, Seatown Holdings International, EDBI, and Cityneon's Executive Chairman & Group CEO, Mr. Ron Tan. EDBI and Pavilion Capital are existing shareholders of Cityneon whilst new investors include Seatown Holdings International, Qatar's Doha Venture Capital, which will now own approximately 4 per cent of the Group, and other financial institutions and family offices in Singapore and China.

These now join other existing Cityneon shareholders CITIC Capital, veteran entrepreneur and investor Mr. Johnson Ko, and Executive Chairman & Group CEO Mr. Ron Tan to form a new and strong shareholder base for the Group. Mr. Johnson Ko and Mr. Ron Tan remain as the largest shareholders of the company via their combined entity, West Knighton Limited.

The Group is now well positioned for its next growth chapter and will use the proceeds for capital expenditure that includes building more of its various intellectual property (IP) exhibition sets, totaling 24 travelling and four semi-permanent sets under the Studio IP partnerships and three travelling sets under the original artefact IP partnerships by the end of 2022.

Already, the Group just signed its fifth IP rights with Avatar from 20th Century Studios last year. Amidst the anticipation from Avatar fans worldwide, Cityneon will debut a multi-sensory Avatar exhibition in Chengdu, China in May 2021, ahead of the Avatar movie sequel which is slated for release in 2022. Avatar is the world's top grossing film of all time at over US$2.8 billion, and adding millions more after its successful re-release in China in March 2021. Avatar's director James Cameron has announced that he will be producing four sequels with 20th Century Studios, with the first sequel slated for release next year. Disney acquired 20th Century Studios for US$71 billion in 2019.

The Company also recently entered the original artefacts IPs space and will stage international exhibitions of the treasures of the ancient civilization Machu Picchu from Peru in Boca Raton, Florida and Pharaoh Ramses II from Egypt in Houston, Texas. These two experiences will start welcoming visitors in October and November 2021, respectively.

Other IP rights that the Group holds include partnerships with Universal Studios for Jurassic World: The Exhibition, Marvel for Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N., Lionsgate for The Hunger Games: The Exhibition and Hasbro for Transformers Autobot Alliance. All in, Cityneon holds the IP rights for five of the top 10 worldwide box office hits and two artefacts IP from Peru and Egypt. The Group expects to have six sets of its various IP rights travelling across China, and five travelling and permanent sets in the United States, with a few more in other parts of the globe.

The Group will also be reopening experiences that were temporarily closed in 2020, aiming to provide visitors with a safe entertainment option. These include the Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. in Toronto, Canada that will be re-opening in May 2021; and the Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. exhibition in Lotte Mall in Seoul, Korea in April 2021; the same exhibition space which previously housed Jurassic World: The Exhibition, another IP experience exhibition by the Group in 2019. In the past month, the Group also witnessed record visitor numbers at their semi-permanent installations in Las Vegas, USA, signaling a strong comeback and demand for their immersive experiences, as they step into the 6th year of operations there.

While there are exciting plans lined up, the Group is not resting on its laurels. More Hollywood IPs and artefact IPs can be expected, and there will be further announcements on new IP verticals in entertainment experiences that the Group is looking to enter.

Mr. Ron Tan, Executive Chairman & Group CEO of Cityneon, said: "It is exciting that the Company is going through such strategic expansion as one of the largest providers of exhibition entertainment experiences globally. The S$235 million funding round sets a solid foundation for us to invest in developing more of our entertainment experiences, to stage even more exhibitions of the five box office hits and two artefact IPs that we hold the rights to all over the world. I'm thankful that our strong investors base, now from Singapore, Hong Kong, China and the Middle East, have trust in our vision, and believe alongside us that this space of big ideas and big experiences will only grow."

By the end of this year, Cityneon will arguably be the largest provider of exhibition entertainment experiences internationally; with global footprints in more than 50 cities and welcoming 10 million unique visitors across the world by 2022.

Cityneon Holdings

With its global reach and international partnerships, Cityneon has the capability to serve its clients anywhere in the world. Cityneon was listed on the Mainboard of the Singapore Stock Exchange since 2005, and was privatized on February 2019 by West Knighton Limited, a company wholly owned by Cityneon's Executive Chairman and Group CEO, Ron Tan, together with Hong Kong veteran entrepreneur and investor, Johnson Ko Chun Shun. Johnson is a capital markets veteran and has held controlling interests and directorships in many listed companies. In May 2019, Cityneon welcomed CITIC Capital as a new shareholder, who holds approximately 10% shares in Cityneon. CITIC Capital is part of CITIC Group, one of China's largest conglomerates, and has over US$25b of assets under its management across 100 funds and investment products globally. Other institutional shareholders of the Group include EDBI - a Singapore government-linked global investor, and Pavilion Capital - a Singapore-based investment institution which focuses on private equity investments, that made strategic investments in August and October 2019 respectively, to support the Group's further expansion globally. For more information, please visit www.cityneongroup.com.


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