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Arena Pharmaceuticals Announces Merck Discontinues Development of Investigational Niacin Receptor Agonist Program for Atherosclerosis

SAN DIEGO, Dec. 23, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ARNA) announced today Merck and Co., Inc.'s decision (through an affiliate) to discontinue development of MK-1903, an investigational niacin receptor agonist to treat atherosclerosis being developed under its research collaboration with Arena. Merck also informed Arena that the company will not continue the collaboration.

Merck made the decision to discontinue development of MK-1903 following evaluation of the results of a recently completed Phase 2a clinical trial. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial evaluated the safety, tolerability and potential efficacy in patients with dyslipidemia. According to Merck, elevation of HDL cholesterol relative to placebo did not meet the trial's pre-specified primary objective for efficacy; no safety signals were implicated as drivers of the decision to discontinue development.

"We are disappointed that the trial results did not lead to further development of this program, but it has been a pleasure to work with Merck and we welcome the opportunity to collaborate again," said Jack Lief, Arena's President and Chief Executive Officer. "We continue to focus on our other internal and partnered programs and the FDA approval of our lead drug candidate, lorcaserin for weight management."

"This collaboration has led to excellent scientific interaction," said Dr. Andrew Plump, Vice President Cardiovascular Franchise Worldwide Discovery Head, Merck Research Laboratories. "We look forward to the possibility of partnering with Arena in the future."

About Arena Pharmaceuticals

Arena is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing oral drugs that target G protein-coupled receptors, an important class of validated drug targets, in four major therapeutic areas: cardiovascular, central nervous system, inflammatory and metabolic diseases. Arena's most advanced drug candidate, lorcaserin for weight management, has completed a pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial program. Arena submitted lorcaserin's New Drug Application to the FDA in December 2009.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Such forward-looking statements include statements about the development, therapeutic indication and use, tolerability, safety, and efficacy of MK-1903; the discontinuation of Arena's collaboration with Merck; future collaborative activities; the regulatory approval of lorcaserin; and Arena's focus, strategy, research and development programs, and ability to develop compounds and commercialize drugs. For such statements, Arena claims the protection of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual events or results may differ materially from Arena's expectations. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, regulatory authorities may not accept Arena's NDA submission; regulatory authorities may not find data from Arena's clinical trials and studies sufficient for regulatory approval; the timing, success and cost of Arena's lorcaserin program and other of its research and development programs; the timing and ability of Arena to receive regulatory approval for its drug candidates; results of clinical trials or preclinical studies may not be predictive of future results; clinical trials and studies may not proceed at the time or in the manner Arena expects or at all; Arena's ability to partner or commercialize lorcaserin or other of its compounds or programs; Arena's ability to obtain additional funds; Arena's ability to obtain and defend its patents; and the timing and receipt of payments and fees, if any, from Arena's collaborators. Additional factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those stated or implied by Arena's forward-looking statements are disclosed in Arena's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements represent Arena's judgment as of the time of this release. Arena disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements, other than as may be required under applicable law.

    Contact: Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.     Media Contact: Russo Partners

    Jack Lief                                David Schull, President
    President and CEO              
    Cindy McGee
    Manager, IR and Corporate Communications Anthony J. Russo, Ph.D., CEO          
    858.453.7200 ext. 1479                   212.845.4251

SOURCE Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

SOURCE Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
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