AVANIR Invites Shareholders to Its Annual Meeting and Profiles New Director Nominees

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 1, 2005--AVANIR Pharmaceuticals (AMEX:AVN) announced that Dennis Podlesak and Paul G. Thomas have been nominated to serve on the company's Board of Directors. The new nominees, along with Stephen G. Austin, CPA, who is running for re-election, will have their nominations voted on at AVANIR's upcoming Annual Meeting of Shareholders. If elected, the new nominees will fill the positions vacated by James B. Glavin and Susan Golding, who have elected not to seek additional terms.

The meeting will convene on Thursday, March 17, 2005 at 10:00 am Pacific time and will be held at the company's conference center at 11404 Sorrento Valley Road in San Diego, Calif. Shareholders of record as of January 21, 2005 are eligible to vote at the meeting and are invited to attend.

The new nominees bring significant experience in development and commercialization of drug products. Mr. Podlesak is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Peninsula Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company focused on infectious diseases. Prior to that, Mr. Podlesak served as Senior Vice President and Head of a North American Business Unit at Novartis AG and as a member of Novartis' Pharmaceutical Executive Committee and Global Leadership Team. From July 1998 to October 2002, Mr. Podlesak served as Vice President and head of the CEC division of Allergan, Inc. and as member of Allergan's North American and Global Management Team. Mr. Podlesak spent the first ten years of his career with SmithKline Beecham (now GlaxoSmithKline plc). Mr. Podlesak holds a B.A. degree in Business Administration from Western Illinois University and an M.B.A. degree from Pepperdine University.

Mr. Thomas has served as Director, President and Chief Executive Officer of LifeCell Corp. since October 1998 and as Chairman of the LifeCell Board of Directors since June 1999. LifeCell develops and markets products made from human allograft tissue for use in surgical procedures. Prior to joining LifeCell, Mr. Thomas was President of the Pharmaceutical Products Division of Ohmeda Inc., a world leader in inhalation anesthetics and acute care pharmaceuticals. Mr. Thomas received his M.B.A. degree with an emphasis in Marketing and Finance from Columbia University Graduate School of Business and completed his postgraduate studies in Chemistry at the University of Georgia Graduate School of Arts and Science. He received his B.S. degree cum laude in Chemistry from St. Michael's College in Vermont.

Mr. Austin currently serves as the chair of AVANIR's Audit Committee and has been a member of the company's Board of Directors since 2003. Under the new SEC and Sarbanes-Oxley regulations, Mr. Austin qualifies as a designated "audit committee financial expert." He is a Partner in Swenson Advisors, LLP, an accounting and consulting firm. Prior to joining Swenson Advisors, Mr. Austin accumulated over 22 years of experience as an audit partner with Price Waterhouse LLP and with McGladrey & Pullen, LLP, serving both public and private companies. While at Price Waterhouse, Mr. Austin worked in the national office in New York, where he addressed complex accounting and reporting issues for publicly traded companies and worked with various members of the FASB and EITF staffs. Mr. Austin is licensed as a CPA in California and Georgia. In 2004, Mr. Austin published a book on business ethics entitled, "Rise of the New Ethics Class," and also served at the request of the Mayor of San Diego on the city's Pension Reform Committee.

AVANIR Pharmaceuticals is a drug discovery and development company focused on treatments for chronic diseases. Our product candidates address therapeutic markets that include central nervous system and cardiovascular disorders, inflammation and infectious disease. The Company's first commercialized product, Abreva(R), is marketed in North America by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare and is the leading over-the-counter product for the treatment of cold sores. Further information about AVANIR can be found at www.avanir.com.

The information contained in this press release, including any forward-looking statements contained herein, should be reviewed in conjunction with the Company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and quarterly report on Form 10-Q and other publicly available information regarding the Company. Copies of such information are available from the Company upon request. Such publicly available information sets forth many risks and uncertainties related to the Company's business and technology. Forward-looking statements often contain such words like "estimate," "anticipate," "believe," "plan" or "expect." AVANIR disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.


    CONTACT: AVANIR Pharmaceuticals
             Patrice Saxon, 858-622-5202 (Investor Relations)
             psaxon@avanir.com

    SOURCE: AVANIR Pharmaceuticals