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Merix and Kirin to Develop Personalized Dendritic Cell Vaccines for Cancer, HIV and Other Disease

Durham, NC and Tokyo, Japan - June 22, 2004 - Merix Bioscience, a company pioneering therapeutic immunotherapy vaccines, and Kirin Brewery’s Pharmaceutical Division, which is developing therapeutic products for renal disease, cancer and immunological disorders, today announced the signing of a collaboration agreement for developing therapies using dendritic cells.

Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will collaborate to develop and commercialize dendritic cell vaccines in all applicable areas, including cancer, infectious diseases, autoimmune disorders and transplantation. Initially, the companies will focus on cancer and HIV. Merix and Kirin will jointly conduct research and development, and will share profits worldwide. Merix will commercialize in the United States and Canada; Kirin in Asia; and opportunities in Europe and the rest of the world will be decided jointly. As part of the agreement, Kirin made an equity investment in Merix and will appoint a member to Merix’s board of directors. Each party will contribute an estimated $45-65M (USD) during the first three years of the collaboration.

“We highly regard our partnership with Kirin and believe our collective expertise in the field of cell therapy will provide patients with superior immunotherapy treatments,” said Clint (Skip) Dederick, chairman of the Board, CEO and president of Merix. “Our RNA-loaded technology creates a unique opportunity to personalize treatment for an individual patient and invoke the broadest possible immune response to fight disease.”

Merix has a company-sponsored Phase I/II clinical trial underway at five sites in the United States and Canada to investigate a personalized vaccine for renal (kidney) cancer. Under the collaborative agreement, the companies will utilize Merix’s platform technology for RNA-loaded dendritic cell technology. This “total tumor RNA” approach is completely unique in that it uses RNA from all of the patient’s tumor antigens.

“We believe the collaboration with Merix provides an excellent opportunity for developing new immunotherapy vaccines, which complements our business efforts to actively pursue the most promising and innovating medical technologies,” said Katsuhiko Asano, Ph.D., managing executive officer of Kirin, and president of its Pharmaceutical Division. “We are pleased to begin our partnership with Merix and have resolved all of the outstanding issues that previously existed,” he added.

NOTE
This news release may contain forward-looking statements made pursuant to the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Investors are cautioned that such forward-looking statements in this press release regarding potential applications of Merix's technology constitute forward-looking statements involving risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and commercialization of potential products, reliance on collaborators, need for additional capital, need for regulatory approvals or clearances, and the maintenance of our intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements.
 
About Merix
Merix Bioscience, Inc. - a privately held company headquartered in Durham, North Carolina, and with additional operations in Erlangen, Germany - is dedicated to becoming a market leader in the field of immunotherapy. Utilizing proprietary technology and proven therapeutic methods and expertise in dendritic cell biology, Merix is developing the next generation of therapies in the areas of oncology, infectious diseases, autoimmune disorders and transplantation. Merix’s initial total tumor RNA-loaded dendritic cell vaccine is currently in a corporate Phase I/II clinical trial for patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. For more information, please visit www.Merixbio.com.

About Kirin

Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd, located in Tokyo, Japan, is the world’s 8th largest brewery. Its Pharmaceutical Division focuses on kidney diseases, cancers (including hematopoietic diseases), and immune-system/allergy-related diseases and has recently been focused on the areas of cell therapy and fully human antibodies. www.kirin.co.jp