Medivir Signs Agreement to Out-License Its Novel HIV/AIDS Treatment to Roche; New Promising Drug Added to Roche's Strong HIV Portfolio

Huddinge, SWEDEN


HUDDINGE, Sweden, April 15, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- Medivir today announced that it has signed an agreement with Roche for the out-licensing of its innovative HIV treatment MV026048. MV026048 is a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) which is in pre-clinical development and is expected to enter phase I clinical studies in 2003.

In contrast to the currently marketed NNRTIs, pre-clinical data for MV026048 indicates that this new generation compound has a unique resistance profile. The importance of this is that the current NNRTIs share extensive cross resistance, meaning that when one member of the class fails, patients are unlikely to obtain any benefit from the other currently approved NNRTIs. MV026048's unique resistance profile could make it an important option for a significant number of people with HIV.

Under the terms of the agreement, Roche will make up-front and milestone payments to Medivir totaling U.S. $42 million should the product reach the market. The up-front payment by Roche is $5 million including $2 million in Medivir equity. In addition, Roche will pay royalties on sales. Roche will have responsibility for the development of the drug and the exclusive worldwide marketing rights to MV026048 with the exception of the Nordic Territory (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) which will be maintained by Medivir.

"The signing of this licensing agreement represents an important milestone for Medivir," stated Jonas Frick, CEO of Medivir. "It is a clear signal of the confidence Roche has in our compounds and in the scientific expertise of our company. It is rewarding for Medivir that we have been able to rapidly bring to this stage of development a compound that may bring new hope to people living in the shadow of drug resistant HIV."

"Roche has a very strong presence in the HIV disease area through our HIV protease inhibitors Viracept and Invirase/Fortovase," stated William M. Burns, Head of Roche Pharmaceuticals. "Our strategy is to discover and develop drugs that address key unmet medical needs such as the rapid increase in HIV drug resistance. Building upon the in-licensing of another unique HIV drug, T-20 which is now completing phase III clinical studies, the acquisition of MV026048 represents an important step in our strategy to address this challenge."

Roche in HIV

Roche is at the forefront of efforts to combat HIV infection and AIDS, committed for 15 years to groundbreaking research and development of award winning new drugs and diagnostic technology. The objective is to provide tailored treatment solutions and an improved standard of care worldwide for those people living with HIV.

Extraordinary Shareholder Meeting

As part of the above agreement Medivir's board has resolved to issue 301 478 class B shares for a total subscription price of SEK20 500 504 corresponding to a subscription price per share of SEK68.

Within a short period of time the board will convene an extraordinary shareholder meeting for approval of the board's decision to issue shares.

Telephone Conference

Medivir will host a teleconference on April 16 at 10:00 SE time. Jonas Frick CEO, Bertil Samuelsson VP and Head of Research and Rein Piir, CFO/IR will present and comment on the licensing deal with Roche. To participate please dial +44 (0) 20 8781 0571, code Medivir. The teleconference will be recorded and saved for 5 days. To reach the recorded version please dial +44 (0) 20 8288 4459 and use code 616122 from 12:00 SE time.

About the Medivir Group

Medivir is an innovative and specialized research company active in the pharmaceuticals sphere, located in Cambridge, UK, and Huddinge, Sweden. Medivir's research focuses on the development of new pharmaceutical compounds as inhibitors of target enzymes with protease or polymerase activity.

The group comprises Medivir AB, the subsidiaries Medivir UK Ltd. and CCS AB, plus second-tier subsidiaries CCS (UK) Ltd. and Nordic Care Sweden AB (formerly Jill AB). Medivir has been listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange since 1996.

The research portfolio includes projects against HIV, jaundice, shingles, cold sores, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, multiple sclerosis and organ/graft rejection.

Medivir has five projects in clinical development. Of these, two are moving towards Phase III trials after having completed Phase II trials. Two are in Phase I and one is in Phase II.

Medivir's pre-clinical research encompasses a number of projects, of which one is on its way towards and two are in the lead optimization phase and one is in the late pre-clinical research stage.

For more information about Medivir, visit the company's web site at www.medivir.com

About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world's leading research-oriented healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and vitamins. Roche's innovative products and services address prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, thus enhancing people's well being and quality of life. For more information on Roche and its commitment to research in HIV, visit the: roche-hiv.com website.

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