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Metabasis Therapeutics, Inc. (MBRX) Announces Purchase Of Certain Assets From Cengent Therapeutics' Metabolic Disease Program

6/27/2006 12:34:05 PM

SAN DIEGO, June 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Metabasis Therapeutics, Inc. announced today that it has purchased all of the assets of Cengent Therapeutics' (Cengent) PTP-1B program for metabolic diseases from Cengent's current note holders. With respect to terms of the acquisition, Metabasis would make milestone payments to the note holders only if certain clinical development outcomes are achieved involving an acquired compound and would pay commercialization milestones and royalties if an approved product emerges from the assets acquired.

The acquired assets include several lead compounds and compound libraries, multiple patent families, biological assays and reagents, protein crystal structures and various other components of Cengent's PTP-1B program. PTP-1B (Protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B) is a highly validated molecular target, which mediates insulin resistance in mammals. PTP-1B chemically modifies the insulin receptor thereby blunting its ability to communicate a signal upon insulin binding. Inhibitors of PTP-1B would be expected to restore the signaling transduction mechanism to the insulin receptor and thus could find therapeutic benefit in the treatment of diabetes.

"Our discovery group has been working with the PTP-1B target for some time now so these assets have the potential to significantly accelerate that program and improve our chances of recommending another exciting new product for the treatment of diabetes," commented Dr. Edgardo Baracchini, senior vice president of business development for Metabasis Therapeutics. "If successful, a product from the PTB-1B program would augment the already robust portfolio of product candidates we currently have in clinical development for the treatment of diabetes and metabolic disease. With four products in the clinic and a fifth approaching the clinic, all of which were internally discovered, we have demonstrated our ability to identify important new approaches and products for the treatment of chronic diseases that have critical unmet need and large market potential."

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(R) 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 efficacy and therapeutic benefit of the acquired assets, their ability to accelerate the company's current development program and to result in a product candidate for clinical development, as well as the further development and potential success of all of the company's product candidates. 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 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-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2006. 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.

Metabasis Therapeutics, Inc.

CONTACT: Constance Bienfait, Vice President, Investor Relations &Corporate Communications of Metabasis Therapeutics, Inc., +1-858-622-5575

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