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Anthera Pharmaceuticals Acquires the Worldwide Rights to a BAFF Inhibitor for the Treatment of Lupus and Other Autoimmune Diseases

SAN MATEO, Calif., January 08, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately-held drug development company, announced today that it has entered into a license agreement with Amgen Inc. for the exclusive and worldwide rights to develop and commercialize AMG 623, a peptide fusion protein, for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and other autoimmune diseases.

"AMG 623 complements our existing pipeline and reinforces our commitment to develop novel treatments for inflammatory and autoimmune diseases," said Paul F. Truex, President and Chief Executive Officer of Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "AMG 623 has the potential to be an important treatment for a variety of immunological diseases, such as lupus, where there is a need for therapies with improved safety and efficacy."

AMG 623, which has completed Phase 1b studies in SLE patients, is a peptide fusion protein that binds to B-cell activating factor (BAFF). Anthera anticipates initiating Phase 2 studies in 2008. BAFF, a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family member, is critical for the survival and maturation of B cells. AMG 623 is a potent BAFF antagonist that is being developed as a treatment for B-cell dependent autoimmune diseases and is initially targeted for SLE.

About Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Systemic lupus erythematosus is a severely debilitating, life-threatening disease. Approximately 500,000 people are diagnosed with lupus in the United States alone; ninety percent of these patients are women. Worldwide, more than 1.5 million people are afflicted with SLE. The disease may occur at any age, but the peak incidence occurs between the ages of fifteen and forty-five. No new agents have been approved for the last 40 years. Current standard of care for SLE consists of steroids and immunosuppressive agents that are relatively effective but have severe side effects.

About Anthera Pharmaceuticals

Anthera Pharmaceuticals is a privately-held company committed to developing and commercializing clinical pharmaceutical products that address unmet medical needs of patients with life-threatening, chronic and acute inflammatory diseases. The Company has acquired from Eli Lilly and Company and Shionogi & Co.Â? Ltd. worldwide rights (excluding Japan) to a series of clinical and pre-clinical compounds that inhibit the enzymatic activity of members of the phospholipase A2 (PLA2) family -- a group of enzymes responsible for the release of arachidonic acid and subsequent production of leukotrienesÂ? prostacyclins and other mediators of inflammation. These highly potent compounds inhibit novelÂ? upstream steps in the inflammation cascade and have the potential to address a variety of diseases. For more information, please visit

     Investor and Media Contact:

     Anne Bowdidge

     (650) 218-6900

CONTACT: Anne Bowdidge of Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc., +1-650-218-6900,

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Posted: January 2008