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Kosan's Board of Directors Appoints Helen S. Kim as Chief Executive Officer

HAYWARD, Calif., March 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Kosan Biosciences Incorporated (Nasdaq: KOSN) today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Helen S. Kim as Chief Executive Officer, effectively immediately. Ms. Kim joined Kosan in January 2008 as Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer, and was appointed President in late February.

Peter Davis, PhD., Kosan's Chairman of the Board, commented: "We believe that Helen possesses the breadth of business management and commercial experience, demonstrated leadership and commitment to Kosan to ensure that our company can operate at the highest levels of efficiency, productivity and teamwork and advance our key products toward the market. Helen has the full support of the Board and the senior management team, and we are confident that under her direction, Kosan can realize its potential as a product-focused, market-driven organization."

In addition to her extensive experience in business and corporate development, Ms. Kim's biotechnology expertise also includes corporate finance and strategic marketing.

Ms. Kim's industry credentials include senior positions at Affymax, Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Protein Design Labs and Chiron Corporation. At Affymax, she served as Chief Business Officer where she created and implemented a new business model and was responsible for portfolio prioritization, licensing and capital formation. At Onyx, Ms. Kim established and managed corporate collaborations and had oversight for project management, strategic marketing and investor relations. At Protein Design Labs, she originated the company's marketing and research and development project management functions and was responsible for strategic marketing. At Chiron, she led the global strategic marketing function for Chiron's therapeutics and vaccines businesses including new product launches and established multiple external collaborations including licensing, co-development and joint venture transactions. Ms. Kim most recently served as Chief Program Officer for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation where she successfully developed initiatives to transform healthcare delivery practices in acute care hospitals. Ms. Kim received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University and a M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.

About Kosan

Kosan Biosciences is a biotechnology company advancing two new classes of anticancer agents through clinical development -- a Hsp90 (heat shock protein 90) inhibitor and an epothilone. Hsp90 inhibitors have a novel mechanism of action targeting multiple pathways involved in cancer cell growth and survival. Tanespimycin (KOS-953) is being tested in combination with Velcade(R) (bortezomib) in patients with multiple myeloma in a clinical program called TIME. Tanespimycin is also being studied in HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer in combination with Herceptin(R) (trastuzumab). Epothilones inhibit cell division with a mechanism of action similar to taxanes, one of the most successful classes of anti-tumor agents. KOS-1584 is in Phase trials in solid tumors. Kosan's motilin agonist compound, KOS-2187, licensed to Pfizer, is in a Phase 1 trial in gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). For additional information on Kosan Biosciences, please visit the company's website at

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the "Act"). Such forward-looking statements include but are not limited to statements regarding the further development and potential safety, efficacy, regulatory status, commercial potential and other characteristics of Kosan's product candidates; the continuation of current clinical trials; the initiation of additional clinical trials and the timing thereof and the use of Kosan's financial resources. Words such as "will," "expect," "believe," "may," "intend," "plan," "potential" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Any statements contained in this press release that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon Kosan's current expectations. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. Kosan's actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements as a result of these risks and uncertainties, which include, without limitation, risks related to the uncertain progress and results of Kosan's preclinical and clinical testing, including the risks that studies and trials may not demonstrate safety and efficacy sufficient to initiate clinical trials on the timing currently anticipated, or at all, continue clinical development, obtain the requisite regulatory approvals or result in a marketable product; the conduct of clinical trials; manufacturing; regulatory approval requirements and process; the effort and expense necessary for further development of Kosan's product candidates, including the costs of bortezomib; intellectual property matters, including Kosan's ability to obtain valid and enforceable patents covering its product candidates; Kosan's dependence on its collaboration with Pfizer for development of its motilin agonist product candidate; Kosan's need for additional financing and Kosan's strategy to enter into partnering or licensing arrangements. These and other risk factors are discussed under "Risk Factors" in Kosan's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2007 and other periodic filings with the SEC. Kosan expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein.

Velcade(R) (bortezomib) is a registered trademark of Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Herceptin(R) (trastuzumab) is a registered trademark of Genentech, Inc.

SOURCE Kosan Biosciences Incorporated
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