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Celera Diagnostics Announces Research Collaboration with Merck

Alameda, CA - October 20, 2003

Celera Diagnostics, a joint venture between the Celera Genomics Group (NYSE:CRA) and Applied Biosystems Group (NYSE:ABI) of Applera Corporation, today announced it has entered into a research collaboration with Merck & Co., Inc., to identify and validate genetic markers useful in the development of prognostic tests and therapeutics for selected cancers.

The agreement provides Celera Diagnostics access to certain gene expression data and intellectual property of Merck through its wholly owned subsidiary, Rosetta Inpharmatics LLC. It also provides Merck access to selected research data from Celera Diagnostics for use in developing cancer therapeutics. While the collaboration is focusing initially on breast cancer, the agreement provides for possible extension into other cancers. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"This novel relationship with Merck enhances both the diagnostic and therapeutic potential of Celera Diagnostics’ ongoing breast cancer research,” said Tom White, Chief Scientific Officer, Celera Diagnostics. "Celera Diagnostics has accessed two large collections of tissue samples to support its ongoing disease association studies in breast cancer. We believe our studies, coupled with Merck’s groundbreaking work, could lead to prognostic tests suitable for routine clinical practice, as well as the identification of novel drug targets for cancer treatment."

"We believe this collaboration with Celera Diagnostics, with its recognized strengths in this area of research, may accelerate the development of new prognostic tests for breast cancer," said Stephen Friend, M.D. Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Molecular Profiling and Cancer Research at Merck. “Such tests could offer physicians and their patients information that may be highly useful in selecting among treatment options. Potential discoveries from Celera Diagnostics could complement the fundamental research being conducted at Merck."

Celera Diagnostics' disease association studies compare genotype and/or gene expression profiles in large sample collections to identify genetic markers linked with disease. Celera Diagnostics is currently conducting large-scale disease association studies for nine common, complex diseases, including cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, interferon responsiveness and a metabolic disease.

About Celera Diagnostics and Applera Corporation
Celera Diagnostics is a 50/50 joint venture between two Applera Corporation businesses, Applied Biosystems and Celera Genomics. Headquartered in Alameda, CA, Celera Diagnostics focuses on discovering novel genetic markers for disease and configuring these into new diagnostic tests to predict, characterize, monitor and select therapy for cardiovascular disease, auto-immunity, central nervous system disorders, and cancer. The Celera Genomics Group, located in Rockville, MD, and South San Francisco, CA, is engaged principally in integrating advanced technologies to discover and develop new therapeutics. Celera intends to leverage its proteomics, bioinformatics, and genomics capabilities to identify and validate drug targets, and to discover and develop novel therapeutic candidates. Its Celera Discovery System™ online platform, marketed exclusively through the Applied Biosystems Knowledge Business, is an integrated source of information based on the human genome and other biological and medical sources. The Applied Biosystems Group develops and markets instrument-based systems, reagents, software, and contract services to the life science industry and research community. Customers use these tools to analyze nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), small molecules, and proteins to make scientific discoveries, develop new pharmaceuticals, and conduct standardized testing. Applied Biosystems is headquartered in Foster City, CA, and reported sales of $1.7 billion during fiscal 2003. Information about Applera Corporation, including reports and other information filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, is available at www.applera.com, or by telephoning 800.762.6923.

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking. These may be identified by the use of forward-looking words or phrases such as "believe," "expect," "plan," and "should," among others. These forward-looking statements are based on Applera Corporation’s current expectations. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a "safe harbor" for such forward-looking statements. In order to comply with the terms of the safe harbor, Applera notes that a variety of factors could cause actual results and experience to differ materially from the anticipated results or other expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements. These factors include but are not limited to (1) uncertainty in obtaining intellectual property protection for inventions made by Celera Diagnostics; (2) unproven ability of Celera Diagnostics to discover, develop, and commercialize diagnostic products based findings from its disease association studies; (3) unproven use of genomics information to develop diagnostic products; (4) uncertainty as to whether Celera Diagnostics will be able to obtain any required regulatory approval of its diagnostic products; (5) uncertainty of market acceptance of the its products; (6) availability and pricing of certain raw materials and equipment; and (7) other factors that might be described from time to time in Applera’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All information in this press release is as of the date of the release, and Applera does not undertake any duty to update this information, including any forward-looking statements, unless required by law.


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