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Metabasis Therapeutics, Inc. (MBRX) Announces the Resignation of Mark Erion, Ph.D., President, CEO & CSO


9/1/2009 7:04:47 AM

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SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Metabasis Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq:MBRX - News) announced today that Mark Erion, PhD, the Company’s president, chief executive officer and chief scientific officer as well as a member of its board of directors, has resigned as an officer and director of the Company effective October 31, 2009. Dr. Erion will consult for the Company after that date on matters related to the licensing or sale of its pipeline of product candidates and advanced discovery programs or other strategic alternatives. Dr. Erion is leaving Metabasis to join Merck & Co., Inc. as their vice president and worldwide basic franchise head of Diabetes and Obesity. Mr. David Hale, Metabasis’ current chairman of the board, has been appointed as executive chairman.

Mr. Hale stated, “On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to thank Mark for his contributions over the past ten years to Metabasis, including the discovery of several potential new therapeutic products. Dr. Erion has a strong passion for drug discovery, which Metabasis is no longer able to support. We wish him great success in his new role at Merck.”

About Metabasis (www.mbasis.com):

Metabasis is a biopharmaceutical company that has discovered novel drugs for metabolic diseases using its proprietary technology and its knowledge of processes and pathways within the liver that are useful for liver-selective drug targeting and treatment of metabolic diseases. The Company has established a broad pipeline of product candidates and advanced discovery programs targeting large markets with significant unmet needs. The Company’s product pipeline includes clinical-stage product candidates and advanced discovery programs for the treatment of metabolic diseases such as diabetes and hyperlipidemia, as well as product candidates and advanced discovery programs for the treatment of liver diseases such as hepatitis and primary liver cancer. All of the Company’s product candidates were developed internally.

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 objectives of Metabasis’ new strategic plan; the timing and results of Metabasis’ anticipated clinical trials; Metabasis’ ability to raise additional funds through establishing additional strategic partnerships or the potential sale of equity and other funding sources; anticipated milestone payments pursuant to existing strategic partnerships; Metabasis’ product pipeline, capabilities and long term goals; the status of on-going and future partnering activities, and the Company’s ability to reach milestones and recommend compounds for clinical development notwithstanding its prior reduction in force. 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, risks and uncertainties related to Metabasis' ability to obtain additional financing to support its operations; the progress and timing of clinical trials for Metabasis' product candidates; the fact that positive results from preclinical studies and early clinical trials does not necessarily mean later clinical trials will succeed; difficulties or delays in development, testing, obtaining regulatory approval, producing and marketing Metabasis' product candidates; serious adverse side effects or inadequate efficacy of, or serious adverse events related to, Metabasis' product candidates or proprietary technologies; the risk that Metabasis will not be able to build more value or retain rights for direct commercialization of its product candidates; Metabasis' dependence on its licensees and collaborators for the clinical development and registration of, as well as information relating to, certain of its product candidates; potential conflicts with collaborators that could delay or prevent the development or commercialization of Metabasis' product candidates; the scope and validity of intellectual property protection for Metabasis' product candidates, proprietary technologies and their uses; competition from other pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies; Metabasis’ ability to generate financing through partnerships; Metabasis’ ability to maintain compliance with Nasdaq Capital Market continued listing requirements; and other factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of Metabasis' Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2009. 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.

Contact:

Metabasis Therapeutics, Inc. Investor Relations & Corporate Communications 858-622-5520

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