Healthcare Industry News:  pradefovir 


 News Release - April 12, 2006

Metabasis Therapeutics Comments on Status of the Development of Pradefovir

SAN DIEGO, April 12 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Metabasis Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: MBRX ) commented today on the status of pradefovir in response to the announcement by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (NYSE: VRX ), Metabasis' partner and licensee, that Valeant planned to out-license pradefovir as part of an overall restructuring of Valeant's operations. Valeant has advised Metabasis that Valeant plans to continue the development of pradefovir through the initiation of Phase III clinical trials while Valeant seeks to identify a partner to complete the development and potential commercialization of pradefovir for the treatment of hepatitis B.

In a recent Phase IIb clinical trial, pradefovir demonstrated robust efficacy and was safe and well tolerated. In fact, in 71% of patients treated with the dose of pradefovir that is expected to be used in a Phase III trial, viral DNA levels, a measure of viral load, were reduced to undetectable levels, approximately double what was seen with a maximal dose of the marketed hepatic B drug Hepsera.

"Based on these early clinical trial results, we believe pradefovir could be a best in class drug for the treatment of hepatitis B," stated Paul Laikind, chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Therefore, we anticipate there will be significant industry interest in this late-stage compound. We expect to work closely with Valeant to maximize the market potential of this important advancement in hepatitis B therapy."

About Metabasis (

Metabasis Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and 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 major diseases with significant unmet medical needs. Targeted diseases include 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® 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 potential out-license and further development of pradefovir, the amount of industry interest in pradefovir, and Metabasis' continued financial participation in any future out-license of pradefovir. 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, the risk that any future out-license of pradefovir will not occur on favorable terms to Metabasis, if at all; risks and uncertainties related to Metabasis' dependence on Valeant, any future collaborator on the development of pradefovir, and other licensees and collaborators for the clinical development and registration of its product candidates, among other things; the progress and timing of clinical trials for Metabasis' product candidates; the fact that positive results from clinical trials does not necessarily mean later clinical trials will succeed; serious adverse side effects of, or serious adverse events related to, Metabasis' product candidates or proprietary technologies; difficulties or delays in development, testing, obtaining regulatory approval, producing and marketing Metabasis' product candidates; the potential and progress of preclinical compounds and programs; and other factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of Metabasis' Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 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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