(26th Nov 2002) Abbott Laboratories and MerLion Pharmaceuticals Announce Drug Discovery Collaboration

ABBOTT PARK, Ill., and SINGAPORE, Nov. 26, 2002 - Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) and MerLion Pharmaceuticals Pte. Ltd. (MerLion Pharma), a Singapore-based drug discovery company today announced a collaboration for the discovery of natural product-based drugs for use in a broad range of therapeutic areas, such as oncology, metabolics, antivirals, immunology and neuroscience.

The collaboration builds on Abbott's long and successful history utilizing naturally occurring compounds for drug discovery and MerLion Pharma's outstanding natural product collection and high throughput screening capabilities. The agreement extends Abbott's capability to identify potential drug candidates to novel targets.
 

"Abbott is pleased to have access to MerLion's exceptional natural product collection to accelerate drug discovery efforts on some of our most exciting research targets," said James B. Summers, divisional vice president, Advanced Technology, Abbott Global Pharmaceutical Discovery. "We anticipate that this alliance will help us identify compounds with potential to prevent or treat multiple disease states."

"The collaboration between Abbott Laboratories and MerLion Pharma underscores the importance of naturally occurring chemical diversity in the drug discovery process," said Dr. Tony Buss, CEO of MerLion Pharma. "With the increasing numbers of novel drug targets, both companies are committed to maximizing the impact on the drug discovery process. I am delighted that MerLion is working with such a leading, research-driven pharmaceutical company."

Under the terms of the agreement, Abbott will contribute a number of therapeutic targets for MerLion Pharma to screen against its sample collection. Abbott will have responsibility for lead optimization, clinical development and marketing of the products worldwide. MerLion Pharma will receive research and clinical milestone payments and royalties and will also retain rights to selected discoveries that are not progressed by Abbott. A joint review board composed of members from both companies will manage the collaboration. Other terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

MerLion Pharmaceuticals Pte. Ltd. is a privately held Singapore-based company, focusing on the discovery and development of new drug candidates from natural sources. The company's assets and capabilities include an outstanding natural product sample collection, advanced high throughput screening technology, assay development and medicinal chemistry capabilities.
 

MerLion Pharma collaborates with leading pharmaceutical companies, biotechs and research institutes to identify and develop drug leads in a wide range of therapeutic areas. The company's other current collaboration partners include Fujisawa Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., Johns Hopkins (Singapore) Pte. Ltd., and the National Cancer Centre (Singapore). MerLion Pharma is also developing and commercializing lead compounds emerging from its own discovery programs. MerLion Pharma is staffed by 60 employees and occupies 20,000 square feet of labs and offices in the Singapore Science Park.

More information on MerLion Pharma can be found on the company's Web site at www.merlionpharma.com.

Abbott Laboratories is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals, nutritionals, and medical products, including devices and diagnostics. The company employs approximately 70,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.

Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's Web site at www.abbott.com.