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Isis Pharmaceuticals and Thomas, McNerney & Partners Announce That the Newly Formed Altair Therapeutics Will Develop Antisense Drugs for Respiratory Conditions

- Isis will own 18 percent of Altair and will receive milestones and

royalties on antisense drugs developed by Altair

- Altair to conduct clinical development of ISIS 369645 for asthma

CARLSBAD, Calif. and SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ISIS) and Thomas, McNerney & Partners, LLC, announced today that Altair Therapeutics Inc., a new venture capital-funded biotechnology company, has been created to focus on the discovery, development and commercialization of Isis' antisense drugs to treat asthma and other respiratory conditions. Isis has granted an exclusive worldwide license to Altair for the development and commercialization of ISIS 369645, an inhaled inhibitor of the IL-4/IL-13 signaling pathways for the treatment of asthma. Isis and Altair will also be collaborating to discover drugs directed to other promising targets for the treatment of respiratory conditions. Isis will own 18 percent of Altair in the form of preferred stock. Furthermore, as ISIS 369645 and other drugs arising out of the research collaboration progress, Altair will pay Isis development milestones and royalties.

"Altair is assembling a focused team of experts in both antisense drug discovery and development and respiratory conditions to advance antisense drugs, including ISIS 369645," said Jeff Jonas, M.D., Executive Vice President of Isis. "Our robust antisense technology allows us to continue to discover and validate many more drug candidates than we can advance ourselves. Altair is the most recent example of our satellite company strategy; through this strategy we expand therapeutic applications for antisense drugs while focusing our internal resources in our therapeutic focus areas in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases."

"We are pleased to be working with Isis, a leader in the discovery and development of RNA-based therapeutics," stated Pratik Shah, Ph.D., partner at Thomas, McNerney & Partners, which structured and led the licensing and financing transactions for Altair. "Asthma continues to be an area of unmet medical need and we believe ISIS 369645 has the potential to provide significant benefit to patients. There have been a number of recent clinical successes and validating corporate partnerships that make this space exciting."

"A key component of our business strategy is to exploit the broad applicability of our antisense technology platform and our intellectual property position to add to our pipeline of promising antisense drugs that target a broad range of diseases," said B. Lynne Parshall, Executive Vice President and CFO of Isis. "To best accomplish this, we have created and partnered with numerous emerging biotech companies focused on exploiting antisense technology toward new biological areas or particular diseases, providing them with access to our technology, intellectual property or licenses to certain of our drugs. Altair is now joining the ranks of these partners, which include Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, OncoGenex Technologies, Regulus Therapeutics, ATL, iCo Therapeutics and others. We believe that each of these partners is a highly dedicated, innovative company through which we are aggressively furthering the development of antisense drugs, expanding the breadth of our product pipeline, and creating value, while staying focused on our internal drug discovery and development activities and core technology expansion."

About Altair Therapeutics

Altair was founded by Thomas, McNerney & Partners and is building a dedicated team, combining antisense drug discovery expertise with respiratory drug development expertise, to focus solely on the development and commercialization of antisense drugs for the treatment of asthma and other respiratory conditions. More information on Altair is available at

About ISIS 369645

ISIS 369645 is an antisense drug that acts as an inhibitor of the IL-4/IL-13 cytokine signaling pathways, which play an important role in asthma. In preclinical studies, inhibition of IL-4/IL-13 signaling pathways reduced lung cytokine production, inflammation, and airway hyper-responsiveness and when delivered by inhalation can rapidly distribute to target tissues at therapeutic doses.

About Thomas, McNerney & Partners

Thomas, McNerney & Partners, LLC, is a health care private equity firm that invests in life science and medical technology companies. Employing a multi-stage investment approach, Thomas, McNerney & Partners has just under $600 million in assets under management and provides seed and early stage funding to help entrepreneurs launch companies, as well as growth capital to emerging companies for furthering clinical development or for expansion of product commercialization. For more information, please visit .


Isis is exploiting its expertise in RNA to discover and develop novel drugs for its product pipeline and for its partners. The Company has successfully commercialized the world's first antisense drug and has 17 drugs in development. Isis' drug development programs are focused on treating cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Isis' partners are developing drugs for a wide variety of diseases. Ibis Biosciences, Inc., Isis' wholly owned subsidiary, is developing and commercializing the Ibis T5000(TM) Biosensor System, a revolutionary system to identify infectious organisms. As an innovator in RNA-based drug discovery and development, Isis is the owner or exclusive licensee of over 1,500 issued patents worldwide. Additional information about Isis is available at

This press release includes forward-looking statements regarding Isis' business, its partnership strategies, and the future therapeutic and commercial potential of ISIS 369645 and Isis' antisense technologies. Any statement describing Isis' goals, expectations, financial or other projections, intentions or beliefs is a forward-looking statement and should be considered an at-risk statement, including those statements that are described as Isis' goals or projections. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, particularly those inherent in the process of discovering, developing and commercializing drugs that are safe and effective for use as human therapeutics, in developing and commercializing systems to identify infectious organisms that are effective and commercially attractive, and in the endeavor of building a business around such products. Isis' forward-looking statements also involve assumptions that, if they never materialize or prove correct, could cause its results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Although Isis' forward-looking statements reflect the good faith judgment of its management, these statements are based only on facts and factors currently known by Isis. As a result, you are cautioned not to rely on these forward- looking statements. These and other risks concerning Isis' programs are described in additional detail in Isis' annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006, and its quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2007, which are on file with the SEC. Copies of this and other documents are available from the Company.

In this press release, unless the context requires otherwise, "Isis," "Company," "we," "our," and "us" refers to Isis Pharmaceuticals and its subsidiaries.

Isis Pharmaceuticals, Ibis Biosciences and Ibis T5000 are registered trademarks or trademarks of Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

SOURCE Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
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