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ZIOPHARM Announces Orphan Drug Designation for Ad-RTS-hIL-12 in the Treatment of Malignant Glioma

BOSTON, July 24, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc. (Nasdaq:ZIOP), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of new cancer therapies, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Orphan Drug Designation for Ad-RTS-hIL-12 + veledimex in the treatment of patients with malignant glioma. Ad-RTS-hIL-12 is a novel gene therapy candidate for the controlled expression of IL-12, a critical protein for stimulating an anti-cancer T cell immune response.

The FDA's Office of Orphan Products grants orphan drug status to support development of medicines for underserved patient populations or rare disorders affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S. Orphan Drug Designation provides eligibility for a seven-year period of market exclusivity in the United States after product approval, an accelerated review process, accelerated approval where appropriate, grant funding, tax benefits and an exemption from user fees.

"Malignant glioma is an aggressive cancer with few treatment options," said Laurence J. N. Cooper, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of ZIOPHARM. "This designation supports our effort to advance Ad-RTS-IL-12, a novel immuno-oncology therapy which has demonstrated promising preclinical efficacy in brain cancer, as a potential treatment for this indication. Enrollment in our Phase 1 study is progressing well, and we look forward to early results from this clinical trial later in the year."

Ad-RTS-hIL-12 + veledimex is currently being studied in a Phase 1 trial designed to examine a gene therapy treatment strategy for high grade gliomas, with the goal of generating an anti-tumor T cell immune response. The primary objective of the study is to determine the safety and tolerability of a single intra-tumoral Ad-RTS-hIL-12 injection plus escalating oral veledimex doses. Secondary objectives are to determine the veledimex maximum tolerated dose, the immune responses elicited by Ad-RTS-hIL-12 and veledimex, and investigator assessment of response, including the tumor objective response rate and progression-free survival, and determine overall survival, among other measures. The study is expected to enroll up to 72 subjects at up to 12 leading treatment centers.

About ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc.:

ZIOPHARM Oncology is a Boston, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company employing novel gene expression, control and cell technologies to deliver safe, effective and scalable cell-based therapies for the treatment of cancer. The Company's synthetic immuno-oncology programs, in collaboration with Intrexon Corporation (NYSE:XON) and the MD Anderson Cancer Center, include chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) and other adoptive cell based approaches that use non-viral gene transfer methods for broad scalability. The Company is advancing programs in multiple stages of development together with Intrexon Corporation's RheoSwitch Therapeutic System® technology, a switch to turn on and off, and precisely modulate, gene expression in order to improve therapeutic index. The Company's pipeline includes a number of cell-based therapeutics in both clinical and preclinical testing which are focused on hematologic and solid tumor malignancies.

Forward-Looking Safe-Harbor Statement:

This press release contains certain forward-looking information about ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc. that is intended to be covered by the safe harbor for "forward-looking statements" provided by 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 progress, timing and results of preclinical and clinical trials involving the Company's drug candidates, and the progress of the Company's research and development programs. All of 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: whether chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR T) approaches, Ad-RTS-IL-12, TCR and NK cell-based therapies, or any of our other therapeutic candidates will advance further in the pre-clinical or clinical trials process and whether and when, if at all, they will receive final approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or equivalent foreign regulatory agencies and for which indications; whether chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR T) approaches, Ad-RTS-IL-12, TCR and NK cell-based therapies, and our other therapeutic products will be successfully marketed if approved; the strength and enforceability of our intellectual property rights; competition from other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies; and the other risk factors contained in our periodic and interim SEC reports filed from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including but not limited to, our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014, and our Quarterly Report on Form 10Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2015. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements that speak only as of the date hereof, and we do 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.

CONTACT: Lori Ann Occhiogrosso ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc. 617-259-1987 locchiogrosso@ziopharm.com David Pitts Argot Partners 212-600-1902 david@argotpartners.com

Source:ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc.