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Arena Pharmaceuticals Announces Initiation by Merck of Phase 2 Clinical Trial of Niacin Receptor Agonist
Date:2/18/2009

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ARNA) announced today the initiation of a Phase 2 clinical trial of an orally administered niacin receptor agonist drug candidate being developed by Merck & Co., Inc., under its collaboration with Arena to treat atherosclerosis. Agonists of the niacin receptor have the potential to regulate plasma lipid profiles, including HDL, or the "good" cholesterol, similar to the therapeutic action of niacin. The initiation of this trial does not trigger a milestone payment.

The Phase 2 clinical trial is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the safety, tolerability, as well as potential efficacy, of the niacin receptor agonist in patients with dyslipidemia.

"We are pleased with Merck's decision to advance this niacin receptor agonist into Phase 2," said Jack Lief, Arena's President and Chief Executive Officer. "We look forward to the Phase 2 results and to the possible continued advancement of this program."

About Arena Pharmaceuticals

Arena is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing oral drugs in four major therapeutic areas: cardiovascular, central nervous system, inflammatory and metabolic diseases. Arena's most advanced drug candidate, lorcaserin, is being investigated in a Phase 3 clinical trial program for the treatment of obesity. Arena's broad pipeline of novel compounds target G protein-coupled receptors, an important class of validated drug targets, and includes compounds being evaluated independently and with partners, including Merck & Co., Inc., and Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Arena Pharmaceuticals(R) and Arena(R) are registered service marks of the company. "APD" is an abbreviation for Arena Pharmaceuticals Development.

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 therapeutic and other potential of niacin receptor agonists; the development, therapeutic indication, efficacy and potential of a niacin receptor agonist in a Phase 2 clinical trial under Arena's collaboration with Merck; the protocol, design, scope, enrollment and other aspects of such trial; the future results of such trial and the continued advancement of the related program; and about Arena's strategy, internal and partnered 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, clinical trials and studies may not proceed at the time or in the manner Arena expects or at all, the results of clinical trials or preclinical studies may not be predictive of future results, Arena's ability to receive regulatory approval for its drug candidates, Arena's ability to partner lorcaserin or other of its compounds or programs, the timing, success and cost of Arena's research, out-licensing endeavors and clinical trials, Arena's ability to obtain additional financing, 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.

    Contacts:   Jack Lief                                  Mary Claire Duch
                President and CEO                          WeissComm Partners
                                                           Media Relations
                David Walsey                               212.301.7228
                Senior Director, Corporate Communications

                Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
                858.453.7200, ext. 1682


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SOURCE Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
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