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VESTAR ACQUIRES EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS TO ORAL DRUG TECHNOLOGY FROM VICAL INCORPORATED

 VESTAR ACQUIRES EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS TO ORAL DRUG TECHNOLOGY
 FROM VICAL INCORPORATED
 SAN DIMAS, Calif., May 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Vestar, Inc. (NASDAQ: VSTR) and Vical Incorporated today announced that the companies have entered into an agreement under which Vestar has purchased exclusive worldwide rights to Vical's new lipid prodrug technology for orally administered compounds to treat cancer, AIDS and systemic infections.
 "With this agreement, Vestar has brought into the company a second major lipid-based technology with which to create and develop therapeutics for our target patient populations," said Roger J. Crossley, Vestar president and CEO.
 "There are three major strategic advantages to this technology," Dr. Crossley continued. "First, it is technically related to -- but still quite distinct from -- our liposome technology, enabling us to build on and expand our current expertise. Second, it offers the potential of producing improved therapeutics that enhance the safety and efficacy of currently available drugs that can now be delivered only injectably. Third, it may give us the techniques necessary to expand our market base outside the hospital setting, by treating patients with oral drugs on a maintenance basis."
 The technology was discovered by Vical Inc., a biopharmaceutical firm located in San Diego. It involves combining a lipid with a pharmaceutical compound to create a new molecular entity called a lipid prodrug.
 "We found that certain lipid components, when linked appropriately to drug molecules, facilitate delivery of the drug across the intestinal wall," said Robert H. Zaugg, Vical's senior director of business development. "In most cases, prodrugs are themselves inactive, but upon administration they are slowly metabolized, releasing the active pharmaceutical portion of the molecule. In our experiments, we have shown that in addition to increasing the oral uptake of the pharmaceuticals, the technology serves to prolong their duration of action. This can potentially result in products which will be more convenient to administer, as well as being safer and more effective by altering their distribution in the body following administration."
 Since prodrugs are new chemical entities, they can be patented as discrete compounds independently from their parent drugs. Vical has filed numerous patent applications broadly covering lipid prodrug compounds and the synthetic chemistry methods required to manufacture them.
 Among the potential uses of the lipid prodrug technology are oral formulations of: previously injectable-only cancer chemotherapeutics; biopharmaceuticals, such as peptides, which are not absorbed well from the gastrointestinal tract; and drugs that have been used in hospital settings for very serious infections that might be useful for long- term treatment in lower doses.
 As part of the transaction with Vical, Vestar has also acquired right to develop a group of injectable lipid prodrugs with antiviral activity. These compounds may have therapeutic potential against cytomegalovirus (CMV), a serious infection that can cause blindness and even death. CMV occurs in as many as 30 percent of AIDS patients, as well as in other immunocompromised patients. In vitro tests of these antiviral prodrugs have demonstrated encouraging activity against virus infected cells.
 The agreement between the two companies includes signing fees, milestone payments and royalties. Exact terms were not disclosed.
 "We are particularly pleased to have established this agreement with Vestar," said Alain B. Schreiber, M.D., Vical's recently appointed president and CEO. "Their proven expertise in developing lipid-based pharmaceutical products ensures that Vical's technology will be maximally exploited within the therapeutic categories they have licensed."
 "In addition," Dr. Schreiber continued, "this transaction furthers our ongoing strategy to focus Vical's operations on our polynucleotide drug technology and to build this aspect of our company into a leading gene therapy business."
 Vical Inc. was founded in 1987 and is a privately held company located in San Diego. The company's research and development efforts focus on its proprietary polynucleotide drug technology, which broadly comprises the direct administration of DNA or RNA gene sequences as pharmaceutical products to treat and prevent infectious diseases, autoimmune disorders, genetic diseases, cancer and other serious conditions. Vical also develops new therapeutics using lipid chemistry to transform a wide range of drugs into novel lipid prodrugs that improve their efficacy, safety and convenience while creating proprietary new chemical entities.
 Vestar, Inc. is headquartered in San Dimas, Calif. The company develops, tests, manufactures and markets pharmaceuticals to treat patients with cancer and serious infections including AIDS. Vestar is marketing in Europe its first product AmBisome(R), a liposomal formulation or amphotericin B, to treat systemic fungal infections. DaunoXome(tm), a liposomal formulation of the chemotherapeutic agent daunorubicin, is in development as Vestar's second major product.
 -0- 5/4/92
 /CONTACT: Michael E. Hart, CFO of Vestar, Inc., 714-394-4119; or Robert H. Zaugg, Ph.D., senior director of business development of Vical Inc., 619-453-9900; or Marcia A. Kean, executive vice president of Feinstein Partners Inc., 617-577-8110 for Vestar; or Linda C. Seaton, managing partner of Keatinge/Seaton Communications, Inc., 619-625-2100 for Vical/
 (VSTR) CO: Vestar, Inc.; Vical Incorporated ST: California IN: MTC SU:


PB -- NE011 -- 5848 05/04/92 09:00 EDT
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Date:May 4, 1992
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