SOURCE: AVI BioPharma, Inc.

December 23, 2008 16:23 ET

AVI BioPharma Announces FDA Clearance of IND Applications for Clinical Trials of RNA Therapeutic Agents for Treatment of Ebola and Marburg Viruses

PORTLAND, OR--(Marketwire - December 23, 2008) - AVI BioPharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVII), a developer of RNA-based drugs, announced that it learned earlier today that it has received verbal clearance from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the Investigational New Drug (IND) applications filed in November for its two lead products for Marburg and Ebola viruses. AVI BioPharma expects to receive written confirmation of the IND clearances from the FDA in early 2009.

AVI-6002 and AVI-6003 are novel analogs based on AVI's PMO antisense chemistry in which anti-viral potency is enhanced by the addition of positively-charged components to the morpholino oligomer linkage. Preclinical results of AVI-6002 and AVI-6003 demonstrated reproducible and high rates of survival in non-human primates challenged with a lethal infection of the Ebola and Marburg viruses.

About AVI BioPharma

AVI BioPharma is focused on the discovery and development of RNA-based drugs utilizing proprietary derivatives of its antisense chemistry (morpholino-modified phosphorodiamidate oligomers or PMOs) that can be applied to a wide range of diseases and genetic disorders through several distinct mechanisms of action. Unlike other RNA therapeutic approaches, AVI's antisense technology has been used to directly target both messenger RNA (mRNA) and its precursor (pre-mRNA), allowing for both up- and down-regulation of targeted genes and proteins. AVI's RNA-based drug programs are being evaluated for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy as well as for the treatment of cardiovascular restenosis through our partner Global Therapeutics, a Cook Group Company. AVI's antiviral programs have demonstrated promising outcomes in Ebola Zaire and Marburg Musoke virus infections and may prove applicable to other viral targets such as HCV or Dengue viruses. For more information, visit www.avibio.com.

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: The statements that are not historical facts contained in this release are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, the results of research and development efforts, the results of preclinical and clinical testing, the effect of regulation by the FDA and other agencies, the impact of competitive products, product development, commercialization and technological difficulties, and other risks detailed in the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

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