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Aires Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Completes $20M Equity Financing and Signs an Option Agreement with a Major Pharmaceutical Company

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 11, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Aires Pharmaceuticals, Inc., announced today that it has successfully completed a $20 million Series B equity financing, led by MPM Capital on behalf of the MPM Bio IV NVS Strategic Fund L.P.  Additionally, Aires further bolstered its cash reserves by entering into an agreement with Novartis International Pharmaceutical Limited whereby Novartis has been granted an exclusive option to acquire Aires following the successful completion of a Phase 2 clinical study of Aironite™ to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension.  The agreement also includes a right to an exclusive worldwide license under pre-agreed conditions.  Including the initial acquisition payment plus potential additional regulatory and sales milestone payments, the deal with Novartis could reach $250 million.

The Series B financing includes new investor MPM Capital and the existing investor, ProQuest Investments.  Dr. William Greene, Managing Director of MPM Capital, will join Aires' Board of Directors.

"ProQuest Investments created Aires and has been a dedicated backer of the company since inception.  We are pleased that MPM and ProQuest will support the company, and along with Novartis share our enthusiasm for the potential of Aironite to help patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension," said Wendy Johnson, Founder, President and CEO of Aires.  The current financing will be sufficient to complete the planned clinical development program.

William Greene, M.D., Managing Director at MPM Capital, said, "We at MPM are excited about the potential of Aironite to impact the lives of pulmonary arterial hypertension patients and look forward to working with Aires in developing this novel approach to a devastating disease."

About Aironite™  

Aironite™ is an inhaled nitric oxide prodrug that has been shown in animal models to cause vasodilatation as well as potentially prevent or reverse the pulmonary artery smooth muscle cell proliferation associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension.  Significant preclinical development has been conducted by inventors Dr. Mark Gladwin and colleagues, formerly from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the NIH.  In early clinical trials conducted by Aires, Aironite administration resulted in nitric oxide production and reduction of pulmonary artery pressure.

About MPM Capital  

MPM Capital is one of the world's largest life science-dedicated venture investors. With committed capital under management in excess of $2 billion, MPM Capital is uniquely structured to invest globally in healthcare innovation.

About ProQuest Investments

Founded in 1998, ProQuest Investments is a healthcare venture capital firm with over $875 million under management.  With a proven superior track record and over 40 investments the portfolio reflects the rich diversity of the healthcare industry and exemplifies commitment to fostering the growth of exceptional businesses.

About Aires Pharmaceuticals

Aires Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is a privately held drug development company developing Aironite for cardiopulmonary indications such as pulmonary hypertension.  The company is headquartered in San Diego, California.

SOURCE Aires Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
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