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Agouron Initiates Phase II Study of Oral Anti-Angiogenesis Drug AG3340 for
Treatment of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

LA JOLLA, Calif., Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Agouron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
(Nasdaq: AGPH) today announced the initiation of a phase II clinical trial to
evaluate the safety and efficacy of its anti-angiogenesis drug AG3340 in
patients with age-related macular degeneration.

The phase II clinical trial will assess the safety of AG3340 in approximately
100 patients aged 50 years and older affected with the neovascular form of
age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and determine the optimal dose and
regimen to use in subsequent phase III trials.  The study will also evaluate
effects of AG3340 on visual function and on neovascular lesions over time.

AMD is the leading cause of blindness in Americans aged 60 years and older and
is the source of vision impairment (including blindness) in approximately 1.7
million of those over the age of 65.  The form of AMD that accounts for 90% of
all AMD-related blindness -- the neovascular or "wet" type -- is caused by the
growth of fragile blood vessels under the center of the retina, an area called
the macula.  The new blood vessels are generally "leaky," leaking blood and
fluid, which then result in damage to the macula and the loss of central
vision.  Laser destruction of the blood vessels has been the only known
treatment, but can only be used in about 15% of affected patients.  Even after
laser treatment, the disease commonly progresses and leads to loss of vision.

AG3340 is an orally active, synthetic molecule designed to specifically
inactivate certain members of a family of enzymes known as matrix
metalloproteases (MMPs).  Several of the MMPs inhibited by AG3340 are known to
be critical factors in angiogenesis, or new blood vessel formation.  AG3340
was designed to permit the selective inhibition of angiogenesis with limited
risk of toxicity.  In preclinical studies, AG3340 has demonstrated its ability
to cross the blood-retina barrier and to decrease new retinal blood vessel

AG3340 has been evaluated in approximately 250 individuals in cancer-related
clinical trials and is generally well tolerated, the most commonly reported
adverse events being arthralgias and body aches.  These side effects were
related to dose and were reversible with treatment rests and reductions in
dose.  AG3340 is currently being evaluated in phase II/III trials in
combination with chemotherapy as a treatment for patients with advanced,
hormone-refractory, prostate cancer and in combination with chemotherapy for
patients with advanced, metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.

For information on study sites and enrollment, potential patients and health
care providers may call 1-888-849-6482.

Agouron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is an integrated pharmaceutical company
committed to the discovery, development, manufacturing, and marketing of
innovative therapeutic products engineered to inactivate proteins that play
key roles in cancer, AIDS, and other serious diseases.

SOURCE  Agouron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

CO:  Agouron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

ST:  California



09/15/98 08:40 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com

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