VIA Pharmaceuticals Licenses Drug Candidates from Roche to Expand Cardiovascular Pipeline to Include Metabolic Disease

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 General News
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SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 23 VIA Pharmaceuticals, Inc.(Nasdaq: VIAP), a biotechnology company focused on the development ofcompounds for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, today announcedexclusive, worldwide licensing agreements with Roche (SWX: ROG) for two setsof compounds. The first was for Roche's thyroid hormone receptor (THR) betaagonist, a clinically ready candidate for the control of cholesterol,triglyceride levels and potential in insulin sensitization/diabetes. Thesecond was for multiple compounds from Roche's preclinical diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1) metabolic disorders program.

Under the terms of the agreements, VIA will assume control of alldevelopment and commercialization of the compounds, and will own exclusiveworldwide rights for all potential indications. The agreements provide formilestone payments for development and royalties upon commercialization.

"We are pleased to significantly expand our pipeline of promisingcompounds with the in-licensing of these two programs. The THR beta agonistcandidate and the DGAT1 program are natural fits for VIA, and build on thecompany's cardiovascular inflammation programs," said Lawrence K. Cohen,Ph.D., chief executive officer of VIA Pharmaceuticals. "We believe that thesecompounds address other critical underlying causes of cardiovascular disease:hyperlipidemias and metabolic disorders including diabetes. In addition, Dr.Rebecca Taub, our senior vice president of research and development, hassignificant experience in heading up development programs in metabolicdiseases, and previously oversaw both the THR beta agonist and DGAT1 programsat Roche. We look forward to moving the THR beta agonist into clinicaldevelopment."

About THR beta agonist

The THR beta agonist is an orally administered, small-moleculebeta-selective thyroid hormone receptor agonist designed to specificallytarget receptors in the liver involved in metabolism and cholesterolregulation, and avoid side effects associated with thyroid hormone receptoractivation outside the liver. Roche has completed preclinical studies of theTHR beta agonist. These studies demonstrated a rapid reduction of non-HDLcholesterol and the drug was shown to be synergistic with statins in animalstudies. VIA will investigate the possibility of using the THR beta agonist incombination with statins for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. Inaddition, in animal studies insulin sensitization and glucose lowering wereobserved making this compound a possible treatment of patients with type 2diabetes in combination with other diabetes medications.

About DGAT1

DGAT1 (diacylglycerol acyl transferase-1) is an enzyme that catalyzestriglyceride synthesis and fat storage. Triglycerides are the principalcomponent of fat, which is the major repository for storage of metabolicenergy in the body. Overweight and obese individuals have significantlygreater triglyceride levels, making them more prone to diabetes and itsassociated metabolic complications. DGAT1 inhibitors are believed to be aninnovative class of compounds that modify lipid metabolism. In studies ofobese animals, DGAT1 inhibitors have been shown to induce weight loss andimprove insulin sensitization, glucose tolerance and lipid levels. Theseobservations suggest DGAT1 inhibitors may have the potential to treat obesity,diabetes and dyslipidemia. VIA intends to identify potential clinicalcandidates from the compounds in this program and determine which may be movedinto further preclinical development.

About VIA Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

VIA Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on thedevelopment of compounds for the treatment of cardiovascular and metabolicdisease. VIA's lead candidate, VIA-2291, targets a significant unmet medicalneed: reducing inflammation in the blood vessel wall, which is an underlyingcause of atherosclerosis and its complications, including heart attack andstroke. In addition, VIA's pipeline of drug candidates includes othercompounds to address other underlying causes of cardiovascular disease: highcholesterol, diabetes and inflammation. For more information, visit:

Forward Looking Statements

This press release may contain "forward-looking" statements within themeaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Thesestatements relate to future events or to VIA's future financial performanceand involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that maycause VIA's actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements tobe materially different from any future results, levels of activity,performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-lookingstatements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by theuse of words such as "may," "could," "expect," "intend," "plan," "seek,""anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "predict," "potential," "continue" or thenegative of these terms or other comparable terminology. You should not placeundue reliance on forward-looking statements since they involve known andunknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which are, in some cases,beyond VIA's control and which could materially affect actual results, levelsof activity, performance or achievements.

Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from currentexpectations include, but are not limited to:

All forward-looking statements attributable to us or persons acting on ourbehalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statementsset forth above. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they aremade, and VIA undertakes no obligation to update publicly any of thesestatements in light of new information or future events.-- our ability to obtain necessary financing in the near term; -- our ability to control our operating expenses; -- our ability to recruit and enroll patients for the FDG-PET clinical trial; -- failure to obtain sufficient data from enrolled patients that can be used to evaluate VIA-2291, thereby impairing the validity or statistical significance of our clinical trials; -- our ability to successfully complete our clinical trials of VIA-2291 on expected timetables and the outcomes of such clinical trials; -- complexities in designing and implementing cardiovascular clinical trials using histological examinations, measurement of biomarkers, medical imaging and atherosclerotic plaque bioassays; -- the results of our clinical trials, including without limitation, with respect to the safety and efficacy of VIA-2291; -- if the results of the ACS and CEA studies, upon further review and analysis, are revised or negated by authorities or by later stage clinical trials; -- the outcome of any legal proceedings; -- our ability to obtain necessary FDA approvals; -- our ability to successfully commercialize VIA-2291; -- our ability to obtain and protect our intellectual property related to our product candidates; -- our potential for future growth and the development of our product pipeline, including the THR beta agonist candidate and the other compounds licensed from Roche; -- our ability to form and maintain collaborative relationships to develop and commercialize our product candidates; -- general economic and business conditions; and -- the other risks described under Item IA "Risk Factors" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2007 and in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended September 30, 2008 on file with the SEC.

SOURCE VIA Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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