November 14, 2006 01:04 ET

NicOx presents preclinical results at AHA from antihypertensive collaboration with Merck & Co., Inc.

Sophia Antipolis Cedex -- (MARKET WIRE) -- November 14, 2006 -- November 14, 2006. Sophia Antipolis, France.

NicOx S.A. (Eurolist: NICOX) today announced that very good preclinical results on a prototype compound from its ongoing research collaboration with Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK) were reported by the two companies yesterday in an oral presentation at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2006, in Chicago. These results suggest that NicOx' proprietary nitric oxide-donating technology may have the potential to improve the blood pressure lowering activity of antihypertensive agents.

Ennio Ongini, Vice President of Research at NicOx, commented: "We were honored to present these very encouraging results together with Merck at the American Heart Association meeting. These findings validate the concept of using nitric oxide-donation to augment the efficacy of existing anti-hypertensive agents. We are making good progress in our collaboration and both NicOx and Merck are working hard to advance a candidate into the clinic at the earliest possibility."

Enalapril, a common anti-hypertensive drug and equimolar doses of NCX 899, a nitric oxide-donating derivative of enalapril, were studied in aged spontaneously hypertensive rats, a validated model of hypertension. NicOx and Merck consider NCX 899 as a prototype compound for demonstrating the increased activity of nitric oxide- donating antihypertensive agents. The compounds were administered orally, once daily, for 7 consecutive days, and blood pressure was measured by continuous 24-hour telemetry monitoring. NCX 899 produced a statistically significant better reduction in systolic blood pressure compared to enalapril when measured on day 7, between 2 and 6 hours post dosing (p < 0.05). NCX 899's blood pressure lowering activity was sustained over the full 7-day administration schedule showing that the nitric oxide-donation of NCX 899 did not induce tolerance. NCX 899 and enalapril caused a similar degree of ACE inhibition. However NCX 899 was associated with a statistically significant increase of basal plasma nitrate/nitrate levels compared to enalapril, suggesting that the sustained and improved activity of NCX 899 is due to nitric oxide donation.

NicOx (Bloomberg: COX.FP, Reuters: NCOX.PA) is a product-driven biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of nitric oxide-donating drugs to meet unmet medical needs. NicOx is targeting the therapeutic areas of pain and inflammation and cardio-metabolic disease. Resources are focused on two lead compounds, naproxcinod (formerly HCT 3012), in phase 3 development for the treatment of osteoarthritis, and NCX 4016, in phase 2 for type 2 diabetes. NicOx has strategic partnerships with some of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer Inc. and Merck and Co., Inc.

NicOx S.A. is headquartered in Sophia-Antipolis, France, and is a public company listed on the Eurolist of Euronext Paris (segment: Next Economy).

The elements included in this communication may contain forward- looking statements subject to certain risks and uncertainties. Actual results of the company may differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements because of different risks factors described in the company's document de reference.

CONTACTS: NicOx: Karl Hanks - Manager of Corporate Relations and Market Analysis - Tel +33 (0)4 97 24 53 42 - -

Investors in the United States - Burns McClellan: Lisa Burns - / Laura Siino- - Tel +1 212 213 0006

Financial Dynamics: Jonathan Birt - Tel +1 212 850 56 34 - / Julia Phillips - Tel +44 (0)20 7831 3113 -

NicOx S.A.,

Les Taissounières - Bât HB4 - 1681 route des Dolines - BP313, 06906 Sophia Antipolis cedex, France. Tel. +33 (0)4 97 24 53 00 -

Fax +33 (0)4 97 24 53 99

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