Isis Pharmaceuticals' Ibis Program Awarded Government Contract For Up To $19.5 Million For Continued Development Of TIGER Biosensor For Biological Warfare Defense

CARLSBAD, Calif., March 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced today that its Ibis program has received a two- year contract providing up to $19.5 million to further the development of its TIGER biosensor to identify infectious agents in biological warfare attacks. TIGER, which stands for Triangulation Identification Genetic Evaluation of Risks, is a technology that Isis is continuing to develop with this added funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) under a subcontract from San Diego-based Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). Over the past several years, Isis has received more than $35 million in support from DARPA and other government agencies. This award brings the total potential funding to more than $55 million.

"With the support of DARPA and our collaborators at SAIC, this innovative partnership has made tremendous progress. We have used the TIGER biosensor to successfully identify a variety of bacteria and viruses in numerous sample types, including human clinical samples and environmental samples such as water and air. These and other experiments have established proof-of- principle for this new approach to identify microorganisms," said David J. Ecker, Ph.D., Isis Vice President and President of Ibis Therapeutics.

"We are now creating a fully integrated self-contained system to perform the identification and analysis in a highly automated manner," said Dr. Ecker. "We believe the TIGER biosensor has significant future commercial potential in the surveillance of infectious disease, for biowarfare defense, and in the public health arena as a tool to rapidly and accurately identify infectious agents."

The key benefit of the TIGER biosensor is that in a single test, without culturing, the system will be able to simultaneously identify a broad array of infectious agents, including previously unknown and newly emerging organisms. The technology development program combines Ibis' expertise in microbial genome sequence analysis and advanced mass spectrometry technology with SAIC's advanced signal processing capabilities.

The TIGER biosensor technology is also well suited for epidemic disease surveillance. For example, the TIGER biosensor system could be used for the identification of newly emerging infectious agents such as the SARS coronavirus, monkeypox virus, West Nile virus or drug-resistant bacteria. Isis recently received a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and apply its TIGER technology to the surveillance of infectious diseases in the U.S.

Invitation to Webcast Slide Presentation

On Wednesday, March 3 at 8:00 am Eastern time, Isis will conduct a live webcast conference call with accompanying slides to describe the TIGER biosensor technology. To participate over the Internet go to http://www.isispharm.com/ or http://www.firstcallevents.com/service/ajwz401569701gf12.html . A replay of the webcast will be available at these addresses for up to 30 days.

About the Ibis Program

Isis' Ibis program has expanded on Isis' RNA-based drug discovery and development expertise in order to revolutionize the identification and treatment of infectious diseases. The program's goals are to create a platform technology that can rapidly and accurately identify a broad range of organisms in a single test and to develop small molecule antibacterial and antiviral drugs that bind to RNA. To accomplish these tasks, Ibis scientists integrate functional genomics, bioinformatics and RNA-focused chemistry programs with novel high-throughput, mass spectrometry-based screening methods. The Ibis program has received research funding from several government entities, including DARPA, the CDC, the United States Navy, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Disease (USAMRIID).

Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is exploiting its expertise in RNA to discover and develop novel human therapeutic drugs. The company has successfully commercialized the world's first antisense product, and has 11 antisense products in development. In the company's GeneTrove(TM) program, Isis uses antisense technology as a tool to determine the function of genes and uses that information to direct the company's internal drug discovery research and that of its corporate partners. Through its Ibis Therapeutics(R) program, Isis is developing a novel biosensor to identify infectious organisms and is focused on the discovery of small molecule drugs that bind to RNA. As an innovator in RNA-based drug discovery and development, Isis is the owner or exclusive licensee of more than 1,300 issued patents worldwide. Additional information about Isis is available at http://www.isispharm.com/ .

This press release contains forward-looking statements pertaining to the development and commercialization of TIGER biosensor technology and products, as well as Isis' plans and goals for the program. Any statement describing a goal, expectation, intention or belief of the company is a forward-looking statement and should be considered an at-risk statement. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, particularly those inherent in the process of working under government contract and in developing technology and devices used in the identification of infectious agents used in biological attacks, and in the process of discovering, developing and commercializing drugs and biosensors that are safe and effective for use as human therapeutics and diagnostics, and financing such activities. Actual results could differ materially from those projected in this release. As a result, you are cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. These and other risks concerning Isis' research and development programs are described in additional detail on Form 10-K for the period ended December 31, 2002 and on Form 10-Q for the period ended September 30, 2003, which is on file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, copies of which are available from the company.

GeneTrove(TM) is a trademark of Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Ibis Therapeutics(R) is a registered trademark of Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Audio: http://www.firstcallevents.com/service/ajwz401569701gf12.htmlIsis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

CONTACT: Kristina Peterson of Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.,+1-760-603-2521

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