MBP 3.23% 3.0¢ metabolic pharmaceuticals limited

Good announcement but not the one we await

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    METABOLIC PHARMACEUTICALS LIMITED 2002-08-21 ASX-SIGNAL-G

    HOMEX - Melbourne

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++
    GRANT DETAILS

    We are pleased to announce that the Industry Research and Development
    (IR&D) Board has approved a grant to Metabolic under the
    Biotechnology Innovation Fund to undertake preclinical studies of
    candidate drugs for treating iron overload diseases.

    The grant will provide up to $234,700 in dollar-for-dollar funding
    over 2 years.

    PRELIMINARY DATA

    We are also pleased to announce that animal experiments performed to
    date under this project have shown positive results. So far we have,
    obtained clear evidence that our current most favoured iron chelating
    compound (now codenamed MBP0201) is orally active, reliably enhancing
    iron excretion by the expected amount in rodents after oral
    administration. This is an encouraging indication that MBP0201 may
    provide an orally dosable treatment for iron overload conditions.

    Next Steps Preparations are underway to conduct further preclinical
    efficacy and safety studies on MBP0201, and to appoint a contract
    manufacturer of bulk quantities of MBP0201 for animal toxicity and
    clinical studies.

    ABOUT MBP0201 AND IRON OVERLOAD

    In March 2002 Metabolic Pharmaceuticals entered into an exclusive
    license agreement with the Heart Research Institute (HRI) of Sydney
    to develop a drug for the treatment of iron overload diseases. The
    candidate drug is an iron chelating compound invented by Professor
    Des Richardson, then of the HRI, and coworkers, Prof Richardson is
    an international leader in iron metabolism. He has recently shifted
    his laboratory to the Children's Cancer Institute, affiliated with
    the University of New South Wales, where our research collaboration
    is now continuing.

    Iron overload occurs when iron accumulates inside the body's cells to
    toxic levels. This is most often caused by either hereditary
    conditions or repeated blood transfusions in patients with severe
    anemia. Iron chelator drugs bind to iron and remove the excess iron
    from the body.

    The iron chelator market, potentially worth up to US$350 million per
    annum, has long been dominated by a single treatment, desferoxamine
    ('Desferal') from Novartis. This drug has the disadvantage of being
    expensive to manufacture and inconvenient to administer, requiring
    either multiple daily injections or overnight infusions. There is a
    strong market need for an effective orally administered iron
    chelator.

    Metabolic's candidate, iron chelator MBP0201 is easy to manufacture,
    appears to safely remove excess iron from inside cells and now have
    been shown in the recent rodent studies to be orally active.

    Metabolic anticipates from its market assessment that a safe and
    effective orally administered iron chelator could

    * compete very favourably with the existing treatments, and become
    the treatment of choice for controlling iron overload in the
    treatment of beta-thalassemia and sickle cell anemia;

    * expand the market by becoming more often used in the treatment of
    patients with more common iron overload conditions, such as
    hereditary hemochromatosis. Hereditary hemochromatosis is the most
    common iron overload condition and one of the most common genetic
    disorders in the United States. About 0.5%, (approximately 1,000,000)
    of the US white population have this hereditary disorder, making them
    susceptible to developing iron overload. Most sufferers of this
    common condition currently are treated by phlebotomy (periodic
    blood-letting) to control their iron overload. A safe and effective
    oral iron chelator may contribute to a protocol change for the
    treatment of these patients.

    ABOUT METABOLIC

    Metabolic Pharmaceuticals Ltd (ASX:MBP) is a biotechnology company
    based in Melbourne, Australia developing a pipeline of pharmaceutical
    compounds to provide new drugs for world markets, Metabolic's most
    advanced compound is AOD9604 for obesity. The company recently
    completed intravenous Phase 2A clinical trials on AOD9604 with
    promising results, and expects to obtain and release results from an
    oral Phase 2A clinical trial by the end of August. AOD9604 directly
    affects the metabolism of fat and is an analog of a fragment of the
    human growth hormone: molecule. In addition to the iron chelating
    compounds which are the subject of this announcement, Metabolic is
    also assessing, in preclinical studies, compounds for the treatment
    of type II diabetes and osteoporosis.


    Contact Details and Further Information

    website www.metabolic.com.au
    Investor Relations David Kenley +61 3 9826 0949
    Managing Director Chris Belyea +61 3 9826 0949.
 
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