AVANIR Shareholders Elect Directors at Annual Meeting of Shareholders

SAN DIEGO, Mar 13, 2003 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- AVANIR Pharmaceuticals (Amex: AVN) announced that at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders held today, shareholders elected three Class II Directors and ratified Deloitte & Touche LLP as the Company's independent auditors. Elected as Class II Directors were: Charles A. Mathews, President and Chief Executive Officer of DermTech International; Harold F. Oberkfell, former Vice President of Warner Lambert; and Stephen G. Austin, Partner, Swenson Advisors LLP. Stephen Austin is new to AVANIR's Board of Directors and was elected to a three-year term.

Mr. Austin has been a partner in Swenson Advisors, an accounting and consulting firm, for the past five years. Prior to joining Swenson Advisors, Mr. Austin accumulated over 27 years of experience as an Audit Partner with Price Waterhouse LLP and with McGladrey & Pullen, LLP, serving both public and private companies. The membership of the Board remains at nine, with eight outside directors.

The Company recognized the contributions of Edward L Hennessy, Jr., former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Allied-Signal Inc., for his five years of service on the occasion of his retirement from AVANIR's Board of Directors. Also, two members of the Board were recognized for recent awards, including Charles A. Mathews and Gerald J. Yakatan, President and Chief Executive Officer of AVANIR, who were honored as Directors of the Year by the Corporate Directors Forum this month.

Shareholders at the meeting were also informed that in December of 2002, AVANIR was ranked number one in its industry and number three overall in a rating of San Diego's publicly traded companies by Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). The rankings were based on factors including the composition and independence of corporate boards, the compensation of top executives, and whether a company has provisions in place to fight takeover attempts.

In addition to the three Directors elected at this meeting, the Directors continuing in office include Kenneth E. Olson, Gerald J. Yakatan, Dennis J. Carlo, Michael W. George, Susan Golding, and James B. Glavin, Chairman of the Board.

AVANIR Pharmaceuticals, based in San Diego, is a drug discovery and development company with a commercialized FDA-approved product (Abreva(R)) and a product in Phase III clinical trials (Neurodex(TM)). AVANIR is engaged in small molecule research to develop treatments for central nervous system disorders and inflammatory diseases. Through the use of its Xenerex(TM) technology, AVANIR also develops human monoclonal antibodies for therapeutic applications. 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".

For further information, please contact: Analyst/Investor, Tricia Ross of FRB|Weber Shandwick, +1-310-407-6540, tross@webershandwick.com, for AVANIR Pharmaceuticals; or Media, Dennis Ellman of Beck Ellman Heald, +1-858-453-9600, dme@behmedia.com, for AVANIR Pharmaceuticals; or Investor Relations, Patrice Saxon of AVANIR Pharmaceuticals, +1-858-622-5202, psaxon@avanir.com .

SOURCE AVANIR Pharmaceuticals

CONTACT:
Analyst/Investor, Tricia Ross of FRB|Weber Shandwick, +1-310-407-6540, tross@webershandwick.com, for AVANIR Pharmaceuticals; or Media, Dennis Ellman of Beck Ellman Heald, +1-858-453-9600, dme@behmedia.com, for AVANIR Pharmaceuticals; or Investor Relations, Patrice Saxon of AVANIR Pharmaceuticals, +1-858-622-5202, psaxon@avanir.com URL:
http://www.avanir.com

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