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Wednesday, 05/07/2008 4:57:32 PM

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 4:57:32 PM

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Avalon Pharmaceuticals Reports First Quarter 2008 Results
Wednesday May 7, 4:20 pm ET

GERMANTOWN, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Avalon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:AVRX - News), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of novel cancer therapeutics, today announced financial and operational results for the first quarter of 2008. For the three months ended March 31, 2008, net loss was $6.2 million, compared with $5.3 million in the first quarter of 2007. As of March 31, 2008, cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities totaled $23.6 million.

“Our clinical trials, pre-clinical product development programs and major collaborations continued to progress as planned in the first quarter of 2008,” stated Kenneth C. Carter, Ph.D., President and CEO. “We are excited about recent progress in our Aurora/Centrosome inhibitor program where we identified small molecule allosteric inhibitors of the PLK3 protein. We are also pleased with the progress of our other programs as we continue on track to complete our AVN944 Phase I hematological and Phase IIa pancreatic clinical trials in 2008.”

Conference Call & Webcast Information

Avalon Pharmaceuticals’ senior management will host a conference call on Thursday, May 8, 2008 at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, to discuss the quarterly results. Live audio of the conference call will be available to investors, members of the news media and the general public by dialing (877-419-6597) (in the U.S.) and (719-325-4858) (internationally), and providing the participant pass code, 4845885. To access the call by live webcast, please visit the Investor Relations section of our website at An archived version of the webcast will also be available through June 30, 2008 on Avalon's website.

Recent Highlights

Highlights so far in 2008 include the following previously reported events.

* At a poster presentation at the American Association for Cancer Research 2008 Annual Meeting held April 12-16, in San Diego, CA, the Company reported that it used AvalonRx®, its biomarker-based drug discovery system, to identify small molecule allosteric inhibitors at the Aurora/Centrosome pathway, and to reveal the protein targeted by these compounds. These inhibitors potently induce death in cancer cells and inhibit the Polo-Like Kinase 3 (PLK3) protein, a key node in the centrosome pathway.
* The Company’s drug discovery collaboration with Novartis progressed to the next stage which triggered an undisclosed payment to Avalon for research support. In the current phase of this collaboration, the Company is characterizing compounds identified from the completed high-throughput screen.
* The Company identified hit compounds that affect the Hsp90 pathway under its collaboration with ChemDiv.
* Dr. Philip Frost, M.D., Ph.D., was appointed to the Company’s board of directors. Dr. Frost has extensive experience in drug discovery and development over a very successful career in industry and academia, including leading positions at ImClone, Wyeth, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the University of California, Irvine.

Financial Results

surf's up......crikey