Avalon Pharmaceuticals Announces the Initiation of Compound Characterization Phase in Drug Discovery

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GERMANTOWN, Md., Jan 14, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Avalon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: AVRX), today announced the initiation of the next phase in its drug discovery collaboration with Novartis. The collaboration aims to discover small molecule therapeutic compounds targeted against a pathway selected by Novartis. The terms of the collaboration provide for upfront, research support and milestone payments.

AvalonRx(R: 46.55, +0.87, +1.90%), Avalon’s proprietary drug discovery platform, was used to screen, identify and characterize compounds from Novartis’
proprietary compound library. Candidate hit compounds were successfully identified by monitoring gene expression changes of a transcriptional signature reflecting disruption of the selected pathway. The parties have agreed to initiate characterization of the identified compounds which triggers an undisclosed payment to Avalon for research support under the terms of the agreement.

“We are very pleased with the progress of this collaboration,” stated Stephen K. Horrigan, Ph.D., Vice President of Research. “Our AvalonRx(R: 46.55, +0.87, +1.90%) drug discovery platform brings real value to programs through greater speed in identifying compounds with more selectivity against virtually any pathway or target, including those which historically have been considered undruggable.”

AvalonRx(R: 46.55, +0.87, +1.90%)

AvalonRx(R: 46.55, +0.87, +1.90%) is a comprehensive, innovative and proprietary suite of technologies based upon large-scale gene expression analysis. This platform facilitates drug discovery by expanding the range of therapeutic targets for drug intervention, including targets and target pathways frequently considered intractable using conventional HTS approaches. It also allows more informed decisions about which compounds to advance towards clinical trials and facilitates drug development through identification of biomarkers of efficacy that can stratify patients or provide early indicators of response.

About Avalon Pharmaceuticals

Avalon is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of first-in-class cancer therapeutics.
Avalon’s lead product candidate, AVN944, an IMPDH inhibitor, is in Phase II clinical development. Avalon also has preclinical programs to develop inhibitors of the Beta-catenin and Aurora/Centrosome pathways, discovery programs for inhibitors of the Survivin and Myc pathways and partnerships with Merck, MedImmune, ChemDiv, Medarex, and Novartis. AvalonRx(R: 46.55, +0.87, +1.90%) is the company’s
proprietary platform which is based on large-scale biomarker identification and monitoring, used to discover and develop therapeutics for pathways that have historically been characterized as “undruggable.” Avalon is headquartered in Germantown, MD.

Safe Harbor Statement

This announcement contains, in addition to historical information, certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Such statements reflect the current views of Avalon management and are based on certain assumptions. Actual results could differ materially from those currently anticipated as a result of a number of factors, risks and uncertainties, including those specified under the “Risk Factors” section of our 2006 Annual Report on Form 10-K and updates contained in subsequent filings we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

SOURCE: Avalon Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Avalon Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
David Muth, 301-556-9900
Executive Vice President & Chief Business Officer
Fax: 301-556-9910
Dorland Global Public Relations
Catalina Asanza Loveman, 215-205-2186
The Trout Group
Chad Rubin, 646-378-2947Copyright Business Wire 2008