Medivir & Biovitrum Initiate Research Collaboration in Diabetes

Huddinge, SWEDEN


HUDDINGE, Sweden, July 16, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- Medivir and Biovitrum today announce that they initiate a research collaboration to meet the significant and growing medical need in type 2 diabetes.

The intent of the collaboration is to combine the strengths of the two companies and develop a candidate drug for type 2 diabetes. Biovitrum is specializing in metabolic diseases and has ongoing clinical and preclinical research programs in this area. Medivir has superior protease expertise and technologies that complement this research.

"We have identified the metabolic area as strategically interesting and by linking into Biovitrum's already ongoing project we get a sound start to our engagement in this very attractive therapy area. It is a source of pride that our competence in the protease area gives us this possibility. It once again shows that our expertise in the protease inhibition area enables a considerable broadening of our research portfolio. In a short time Medivir has gone from being a HIV-company to a company standing on several therapeutic pillars, which lessens the risk with our business model," says Lars Adlersson, Medivir's CEO and President.

The agreement stipulates clear research objectives and commercial terms for the further development and commercialization of future products.

"We are pleased that we can leverage our disease area expertise and collaborate with a recognized leader specializing in the target class to solve a tremendous unmet medical need. Biovitrum is dedicated to become a leading developer of metabolic diseases drugs and view collaborations with technology specialists like Medivir as a key strategy to achieve our goals," says Mats Pettersson, CEO, Biovitrum.

More than 160 million people suffer from type 2 Diabetes in the world today. This number is growing rapidly fueled by the obesity epidemic and is believed to reach 300 million patients by 2025. The need for new and effective pharmaceutical treatment is significant.

For additional information contact:

Medivir: Rein Piir, CFO & VP Investor Relations: +46 8 5468 3100 or +46 708 53 72 92 Biovitrum: Johan Kordel, SVP Business Development; +468 69727 81 or +46 70 636 81 64

The Medivir Group Medivir is an innovative, specialist research corporation that develops drugs with the objective of becoming a sustaining and profitable pharmaceuticals corporation. Medivir is located in Huddinge, Sweden and Cambridge, UK. Medivir's research is oriented on developing new drug compounds based on polymerases and proteases as target enzymes. The group consists of Medivir AB, its subsidiary Medivir UK Ltd. and Medivir Personal AB. As of 30 June 2004, the group had 118 employees. Medivir was listed on the Stockholm Exchange O-list in 1996. Medivir's research portfolio includes projects against HIV, jaundice, shingles, cold sores, osteoporosis, RA (rheumatoid arthritis), asthma and MS (multiple sclerosis). Medivir has five projects in clinical development phases, each with a unique clinical profile. The company's broad-based preclinical research portfolio houses five defined projects and nearly ten activities in various preclinical phases.

For more information, please visit Medivir's website at www.medivir.com Medivir AB (publ), Lunastigen 7,SE-141 44 Huddinge, Sweden, tel (switchboard): +46 (0)8 546 83100

Biovitrum

Biovitrum is a privately held Swedish biotech company active in the discovery and development of drugs to treat metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and obesity. Biovitrum is also active in process development and contract manufacturing of protein therapeutics. The company has strong intellectual property and technology platforms, with a number of compounds in pre-clinical and clinical development. Biovitrum is one of the largest biotech companies in Europe with more than 550 employees. Annual revenues, including royalties and contract service fees, finance a major part of the annual research budget.

For more information, please visit Biovitrum's website at http://www.biovitrum.com. Biovitrum AB, Lindhagensgatan 133, SE-112 76 Stockholm, Sweden tel (switchboard): +46 (0)8 6972000

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a progressive lifestyle disease with a strong hereditary component. The global prevalence is approximately 160 million people and is estimated to increase to 300 million people in 2025.due to the increasing number of elderly, a more sedentary lifestyle and rapidly growing incidence of obesity.

The annual average mortality in diabetics (5.4%) is twice as high as in non-diabetic and it is estimated that by the year 2010, diabetes will exceed both heart disease and cancer as the leading cause of death through complications. Type 2 diabetes is frequently associated with obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, atherosclerosis, thrombosis and cardiovascular disease. Type 2 diabetes also leads to other disabilities, especially nerve damage, that could result in erectile dysfunction, numbness, intractable nausea, and diarrhea.

Type 2 diabetes is caused by a combination of decreased tissue sensitivity to insulin (insulin resistance) and an insufficient insulin secretion. The blood glucose control usually deteriorates over time and, despite lifestyle intervention, pharmacological treatment becomes necessary in many cases. The unmet need for new, safe and effective treatment to prevent the progression of the type 2 diabetes, its serious complications and the associated over-mortality is enormous.

This information was brought to you by Waymaker http://www.waymaker.net

The following files are available for download:

http://www.waymaker.net/bitonline/2004/07/16/20040716BIT20470/wkr0001.pdf