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 News Release - January 5, 2006

Metabasis Therapeutics, Inc. Announces Three Senior Management Additions to Development Team

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 5 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Metabasis Therapeutics, Inc. today announced the addition of Howard Foyt, M.D., Ph.D. as Vice President, Clinical Development; R. Wayne Frost, Pharm. D., JD as Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance; and Jeff Jensen as Senior Director, Clinical Operations. These additions underscore Metabasis' increasing focus on building value by independently advancing its internally discovered proprietary drug candidates in human clinical studies. Metabasis currently has three product candidates in clinical development and expects two additional product candidates to begin human clinical trials over the next three-to-nine months.

Dr. Foyt joins Metabasis from Pfizer Global Research & Development where he served as Senior Director, Medical & Development Sciences and Therapy Area Site Head -- Diabetes & Obesity. He began his industry career ten years ago at Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research, Ann Arbor, MI where he was Director, Clinical Research, Endocrine and Metabolism prior to the acquisition of the company by Pfizer. Prior to joining Parke-Davis, Dr. Foyt was an Assistant Professor and Medical Director, University Diabetes Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX. He earned his medical degree in 1985 from Baylor College of Medicine where he previously earned a Ph.D. in Cell Biology. Dr. Foyt completed his residency in internal medicine at Baylor and an endocrinology fellowship at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Frost has over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry with 15 of those years in regulatory affairs. Prior to joining Metabasis he was Director -- Global Regulatory Leader, Regulatory Affairs Liaison for the nephrology franchise at Amgen Inc. Before joining Amgen he was Director, Regulatory Strategy & Registration and Therapeutic Area Head -- Respiratory, Allergy, Inflammation and Immunology for Pfizer Global Research and Development, New London, CT. Dr Frost was an adjunct professor in the Temple University School of Pharmacy QA/RA Master's Degree Program and continues to be a guest lecturer at Yale University School of Public Health on Food and Drug Law. He began his career after completion of a post-doctoral fellowship in pharmacokinetics/ infectious diseases at SUNY-Buffalo with Key Pharmaceuticals and then Bayer Pharmaceuticals working in the Clinical Pharmacokinetics department. He began his career in regulatory affairs at Astra USA. Dr. Frost earned his Pharm.D. at Creighton University School of Pharmacy and his J. D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law.

Mr. Jensen brings to Metabasis over 25 years of clinical operations experience. Prior to joining Metabasis, he was Director, Development Operations Team Leader at Pfizer, La Jolla, CA where he was Operations Team Leader for novel oncology and anti-viral compounds. Prior to joining Pfizer, Mr. Jensen spent 11 years in various positions at some of the industry's top Clinical Research Organizations. He was Vice-President of Operations at INC Research, Inc. the leading CRO for neurology, and Director of Clinical Operations at Quintiles, Inc. Before joining INC Research he gained international experience as Director of Clinical Research, Europe at Pharmaco LSR (currently PPD). Mr. Jensen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Biophysics at Oregon State University.

Dr. Mark Erion, Metabasis' Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President of Research and Development said, "The addition of Howard, Wayne and Jeff to the R&D team represent a significant step in Metabasis' transition from a company with a proven record of producing new innovative drug candidates to one that is capable of advancing its drug candidates through human clinical trials. With two additional product candidates poised to enter clinical trials in the first half of 2006 and a growing metabolic disease emphasis, we expect that Howard's knowledge of endocrinology and his experience in the development of such drugs as rezulin, zenarestat, and exubera for type 2 diabetes will prove critical to our success. Similarly, Wayne brings extensive experience in regulatory strategy and a strong record of successful interactions with health authorities on products developed at Amgen, Pfizer and Astra over the past 15 years. Jeff provides our team with important expertise in clinical trial management gained both from his work at Pfizer and at several CROs. With these additions, we are well on our way to establishing a strong development team that will enable us to build significant value in our drug candidates."

Paul Laikind, Metabasis' Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman, added, "Metabasis' most advanced drug candidates, pradefovir and CS-917, were partnered several years ago with Valeant and Sankyo, respectively. Since then our excellent discovery group has discovered three additional drug candidates, namely MB07133, a potential treatment for primary liver cancer which is currently in the clinic and more recently MB07803 and MB07811, for treatment of type 2 diabetes and elevated cholesterol, respectively, both planned to enter clinical development this year. With a strong and sustainable pipeline of medically and commercially important product candidates in place, the additions to our development team position us to independently advance and build value in our clinical programs and thereby, retain key rights for commercializing products."

About Metabasis (www.mbasis.com):

Metabasis Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: MBRX ), is a biopharmaceutical company uniquely focused on the discovery, development and eventual commercialization of novel drugs to address some of the world's most widespread and costly chronic diseases involving pathways in the liver. The Company has established a pipeline that includes clinical stage and preclinical product candidates targeting large markets with significant unmet medical needs. Targeted diseases include major metabolic diseases such as diabetes, hyperlipidemia and obesity as well as liver diseases such as hepatitis and primary liver cancer. Metabasis has developed several proprietary technologies for use in discovering and optimizing drugs, including the NuMimetic(TM) and HepDirect(TM) technologies. Metabasis is continuing to identify and develop new product candidates using its proprietary technologies and expertise.

Forward-Looking Statements:

Statements in this press release that are not strictly historical in nature constitute "forward-looking statements." Such statements include, but are not limited to, references to the anticipated commencement of clinical trials for, and the potential and progress of, the Company's clinical and preclinical compounds; the capabilities of Metabasis' development team; and the execution of the Company's business plan. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause Metabasis' actual results to be materially different from historical results or from any results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, risks and uncertainties related to the progress and timing of clinical trials for Metabasis' product candidates; the ability to duplicate results from early stage clinical trials in later stage clinical trials; serious adverse side effects or inadequate efficacy of, or serious adverse events related to, Metabasis' product candidates or proprietary technologies; Metabasis' dependence on its licensees or collaborators for the clinical development and registration of certain of its product candidates, among other things; difficulties or delays in development, testing, obtaining regulatory approval, producing and marketing Metabasis' product candidates; the potential and progress of preclinical compounds and programs; Metabasis' ability to retain and motivate key management and scientific personnel; and other factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of Metabasis' Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2005. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. Metabasis is providing this information as of this date of this release and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.


Source: Metabasis Therapeutics

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