AVANIR Pharmaceuticals' Subsidiary, Xenerex Biosciences, And DNAX Research, Inc. Enter Antibody Research Collaboration Agreement

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Xenerex Biosciences, a subsidiary of AVANIR Pharmaceuticals (Amex: AVN), announced today that it has entered into a research collaboration agreement to generate fully human antibodies for DNAX Research Inc. of Palo Alto, California. DNAX Research is Schering-Plough Corporation's (NYSE: SGP) biotechnology center for immunology and molecular biology. The research agreement provides for Xenerex to generate fully human monoclonal antibodies to two target antigens provided by DNAX, which will then evaluate the antibodies for potential development as therapies for human diseases.

Under terms of the agreement, Xenerex will receive research fees for the use of its proprietary monoclonal antibody technology to generate antibodies to the antigen targets. The agreement provides DNAX with an option to enter into a commercial license agreement that could provide Xenerex with additional milestone payments and royalties on future product sales resulting from the collaboration. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"Our collaboration with DNAX illustrates the growing interest of leading pharmaceutical companies in the potential capabilities of our proprietary human antibody technology," said J. David Hansen, President and Chief Operating Officer of Xenerex Biosciences. "The collaboration provides an important opportunity for us to further demonstrate the viability of our technology and the successful commercialization of our platform for application in multiple diseases."

Xenerex Biosciences has developed proprietary platform technology that is capable of generating fully human antibodies to multiple targets, including human targets, and is building a portfolio of antibody product candidates through agreements and licenses with biopharmaceutical companies. The Xenerex technology utilizes human immune system cells engrafted into severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice, which do not have their native immune system. The mice are immunized with the target antigen and respond by creating fully human antibodies, which the company evaluates for optimum antibody characteristics.

"The establishment of research collaborations that utilize our antibody generation expertise is a key element of AVANIR's development strategy and growth plan," said AVANIR's President and Chief Executive Officer Gerald J. Yakatan, Ph.D. "This research collaboration with the DNAX subsidiary of the Schering-Plough Corporation is a measure of significant progress for the Company and represents a prominent milestone for Xenerex."

DNAX is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Schering-Plough Corporation of Kenilworth, New Jersey, a research-based company engaged in the discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceutical products worldwide.

Xenerex, a subsidiary of AVANIR Pharmaceuticals, is a biopharmaceutical company with a customer-focused mission to enable partner companies to develop and commercialize completely human antibody products. The company's website is http://www.xenerex.com .

AVANIR Pharmaceuticals, based in San Diego, is a diversified biopharmaceutical company engaged in research, development, commercialization, licensing and sales of innovative drug products and antibody generation services. The company's website is http://www.avanir.com .

Except for the historical information presented herein, matters discussed in this press release contain forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements that are preceded by, followed by, or that include such words like "estimate," "anticipate," "believe," "plan" or "expect" or similar statements are forward-looking statements. In regard to AVANIR Pharmaceuticals and Xenerex Biosciences, risks and uncertainties include risks associated with product discovery and development as well as risks shown in AVANIR's Annual Report on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q and from time-to-time in other publicly available information regarding the companies. Copies of such information are available from AVANIR upon request. Such publicly available information sets forth many risks and uncertainties related to AVANIR's business and technology. Xenerex's monoclonal antibody technology competes with several technologies used by large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and is subject to a number of uncertainties, including risks associated with the success of clinical trials, the progress of research and product development programs, the regulatory approval process, competitive products and future capital requirements. There can be no assurance that such development efforts will succeed, that such products will receive required regulatory clearance, or that even if such regulatory clearance were received, that such products would ultimately achieve commercial success. The companies disclaim any intent or obligations to update these forward-looking statements.

                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here
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 Haris Tajyar, Media,
                  +1-310-407-6547, htajyar@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
Copyright (C) 2002 PR Newswire.  All rights reserved.