AVANIR Pharmaceuticals Ranked Among the Fastest Growing Technology Companies in North America on 2002 Deloitte & Touche Technology Fast 500

Recognized for Achieving Revenue Growth of 1800% Over Past Five Years Ranked Among Fastest Growing Technology Firms in Orange County and San Diego Fast 50

SAN DIEGO, Oct 16, 2002 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ --AVANIR Pharmaceuticals, (Amex: AVN) a biopharmaceutical drug discovery and development company with a commercialized, FDA-approved product on the market, today announced that it ranked Number 226 on the 2002 Deloitte & Touche Technology Fast 500, a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology companies in North America. Rankings are based on percentage revenue growth over five years, from 1997-2001. AVANIR's revenue grew over 1800 percent during this period in conjunction with FDA approval of the Company's lead product, docosanol 10% cream, and the subsequent launch of the product as Abreva(TM) in the U.S. by marketing partner GlaxoSmithKline.

AVANIR also ranked number 13 on the Orange County and San Diego Technology Fast 50, Deloitte & Touche's ranking the 50 fastest growing technology firms in those Southern California regions.

"With its ranking on the prestigious Deloitte & Touche Technology Fast 500, AVANIR's leaders have proven that they have the vision and the fortitude to excel in the highly competitive technology industry," said Mark A. Evans, managing director of Deloitte & Touche's Technology, Media & Telecommunications Group. "We congratulate AVANIR Pharmaceuticals on becoming one of the 500 fastest growing technology companies in the United States and Canada."

Fast 500 Selection and Qualifications

The Fast 500 list is compiled from three sources: Deloitte & Touche's 20 regional North American Fast 50 programs, nominations submitted directly to the Fast 500, and public company database research. To qualify for the Fast 500, companies must have had 1997 operating revenues of at least $50,000 USD and $75,000 CD, for United States and Canada respectively, must be public or private companies headquartered in North America, and be "technology companies" defined as companies that own proprietary technology that contributes to a significant portion of the company's operating revenues or devote a high percentage of effort to research and development of technology.

"We are pleased to be recognized among some of the most innovative technology firms in our Southern California region as well as the vast number of growing tech companies throughout North America," said Gerald J. Yakatan, Ph.D., President and CEO of AVANIR Pharmaceuticals. "Commitment to ongoing technological development is the cornerstone of the drug discovery and development programs within AVANIR's rich pipeline of products in various stages of clinical and pre-clinical research."

Deloitte & Touche, one of the nation's leading professional services firms, provides assurance and advisory, tax, and management consulting services through nearly 30,000 people in more than 100 U.S. cities. The firm is dedicated to helping its clients and its people excel. Known as an employer of choice for innovative human resources programs, Deloitte & Touche has been recognized as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work for in America" by Fortune magazine for five consecutive years. For more information, please visit Deloitte & Touche's Web site at www.deloitte.com .

AVANIR Pharmaceuticals, based in San Diego, is a biopharmaceutical drug discovery and development company with a commercialized, FDA-approved product on the market. AVANIR is engaged in research, discovery and development of innovative drug products for chronic diseases and, through its subsidiary Xenerex Biosciences, antibody generation services. Further information about AVANIR and Xenerex can be found at www.avanir.com and www.xenerex.com .

The information contained in this press release, including any forward-looking statements contained herein, should be reviewed in conjunction with the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K 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." The Company can make no assurances that it will maintain that level of growth in subsequent years. Final review decisions made by the FDA and other regulatory agencies concerning clinical trial results are unpredictable and outside the influence and/or control of the company.

For further information please contact Kristen McNally, General Information, +1-310-407-6548, kmcnally@webershandwick.com, or Tricia Ross, Analyst/Investor, +1-310-407-6540, tross@webershandwick.com, or Tim Grace, Media, +1-312-640-6667, tgrace@webershandwick.com, all of FRB | Weber Shandwick, for AVANIR Pharmaceuticals; or Patrice Saxon, Investor Relations of AVANIR Pharmaceuticals, +1-858-622-5202, psaxon@avanir.com.

SOURCE AVANIR Pharmaceuticals

CONTACT:
Kristen McNally, General Information, +1-310-407-6548,
kmcnally@webershandwick.com, or Tricia Ross, Analyst/Investor,
+1-310-407-6540, tross@webershandwick.com, or Tim Grace, Media,
+1-312-640-6667, tgrace@webershandwick.com, all of FRB | Weber Shandwick, for
AVANIR Pharmaceuticals; or Patrice Saxon, Investor Relations of AVANIR
Pharmaceuticals, +1-858-622-5202, psaxon@avanir.com

URL:
http://www.xenerex.com
http://www.deloitte.com
http://www.avanir.com

Copyright (C) 2002 PR Newswire. All rights reserved.