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Menjugate (TM), Chiron's Meningococcal C Vaccine, Chosen for Quebec Vaccination Program.

EMERYVILLE, Calif., July 17 /PRNewswire/ --

Chiron Corporation (Nasdaq: CHIR) announced today that its Canadian distributor, Merck Frosst Canada Ltd., has concluded an agreement with the Quebec Ministry of Health to supply Menjugate(TM) for the province's vaccination campaign for the prevention of meningococcal C disease. Menjugate is Chiron's conjugate vaccine for the prevention of disease caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C. Starting in the fall, Menjugate will be used in Quebec for vaccinating children aged two months and older, adolescents, and young adults up to the age of 20. The Quebec government valued the transaction at 75 million Canadian dollars and said the agreement will allow the government to vaccinate approximately 1.7 million people.

Menjugate was approved by Health Canada in April 2001 after receiving expedited review from the government of Canada for use in vaccinating all age groups including infants from two months of age through adults for the prevention of meningococcal C disease. Merck Frosst Canada Ltd. is the exclusive distributor of Menjugate in Canada. Menjugate is a conjugate vaccine comprised of purified capsular polysaccharide conjugated (or linked) to a protein carrier. Menjugate was first licensed in the United Kingdom (UK) in March 2000.

"We are pleased to work in partnership with the Quebec Ministry of Health, and our distributor Merck Frosst, to support the province's vaccination program to protect children and young adults, safely and effectively, against meningococcal C disease," commented John Lambert, president of Chiron Vaccines. "Chiron continues to concentrate on developing Menjugate's potential to prevent meningococcal C infections worldwide."

Chiron's Meningococcal Franchise

Chiron's Menjugate vaccine targets meningococcal C disease. Chiron is committed to the development of vaccines for the prevention of meningococcal disease, including infection caused by serogroups A, B, C, W and Y.

The lead research program is to develop a conjugate vaccine for the prevention of Meningococcal B disease, and clinical trials are targeted to begin in 2001-2002.

Meningococcal Meningitis: A Deadly Disease

Invasive infection with the bacterium N. meningitidis can lead to meningitis and septicemia (blood poisoning). Meningococcal meningitis, which can be caused by multiple serogroups (A, B, C, Y, W and others), is associated with a high mortality rate. Of these strains, serogroup C accounted for approximately 29 percent (in 1998) to 57 percent (from January to April 20, 2001) of invasive meningococcal disease cases in Canada. Serogroup C accounts for approximately 25 to 45 percent of the meningitis cases in the U.S., and about 40 percent in the UK. Meningococcal meningitis outbreaks tend to be seasonal, with the highest incidence in the winter months.

Signs and symptoms of this potentially life-threatening infection include: fever, headache, vomiting, stiff neck, and a rash of small red spots, which subsequently develop into bruises or blood spots which may lead to tissue death. Of the patients who do recover from the disease, 20% will develop serious neurological complications, including permanent hearing loss.

Prevalence of Meningococcal Meningitis in Canada

During the period between January 1, 2001 to April 20, 2001, there were 129 cases of invasive meningococcal disease reported in Canada. Of these, 57 percent are confirmed cases of invasive meningococcal disease serogroup C. During this same period, 13 deaths (10 percent) were reported due to invasive meningococcal disease, of which 7 of the 13 deaths were due to serogroup C.

About Chiron Vaccines

Chiron Vaccines sells a pipeline of novel and standard vaccines throughout the world. In Europe, Chiron Behring (Germany) and Chiron S.p.A. (Italy) are leaders in their respective vaccine markets. Chiron also sells its vaccines internationally through multinational healthcare organizations and local distributors.

About Chiron

Chiron Corporation, headquartered in Emeryville, California, is a leading biotechnology company that participates in three global healthcare markets: biopharmaceuticals, vaccines, and blood testing. The company is applying an integrated scientific approach to the development of innovative products for preventing and treating cancer and infection. For more information about Chiron, visit the company's Web site at http://www.chiron.com .

This news release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. A full discussion of Chiron's operations and financial condition, including factors that may affect its business and future prospects, is contained in documents the company files with the SEC, such as forms 10-Q and 10-K. These documents identify important factors that could cause the company's actual performance to differ from current expectations, including the outcome of clinical trials, regulatory review, manufacturing capabilities and marketing effectiveness.

NOTE: Menjugate is a trademark of Chiron Corporation.

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Date:Jul 17, 2001
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