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Celera Genomics Announces Clinical Milestone Payment From Merck


Celera Genomics Group (NYSE:CRA), an Applera Corporation business, today announced receipt of a milestone payment from Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE:MRK) under the Cathepsin K inhibitor collaboration agreement between the companies.

This payment recognizes Merck’s advancement of a Cathepsin K inhibitor into a Phase I clinical trial as a potential treatment for osteoporosis. If this compound or others developed under the Cathepsin K collaboration are successfully developed and advanced toward commercialization, Celera Genomics will receive additional milestone payments and royalties on net sales from Merck.

“We are pleased to have made a contribution to Merck’s Cathepsin K program,” said Kathy Ordoñez, president, Celera Genomics. “Their progress affirms our expertise in drug design, particularly in the field of enzyme inhibitors.”

A multi-year collaboration with Merck to develop small molecule inhibitors of Cathepsin K was initiated in November 1996. Celera Genomics and Merck extended the research collaboration in December 2001 and Celera continued to provide a series of candidate compounds to support Merck’s research programs. Celera Genomics’ portion of the collaboration was completed in February 2003; since that time, Merck has been responsible for further research and development related to collaboration compounds.

Osteoporosis is a major risk factor for bone fractures and associated disability that affects over 10 million Americans, especially post-menopausal women. Cathepsin K is a member of a large family of cysteine proteases, and has been highly associated with the ability of osteoclasts to degrade bone, a condition which is exacerbated in osteoporosis. Inhibiting this excessive enzyme activity may slow or reverse this condition, providing a potential new avenue of chronic therapy.

About Celera Genomics and Applera Corporation
Applera Corporation consists of two operating groups. 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 proteomic, bioinformatic, and genomic capabilities to identify and validate drug targets, and to discover and develop new therapeutics. Its Celera Discovery SystemTM online platform, marketed exclusively by Applied Biosystems, is an integrated source of information based on the human genome and other biological and medical sources. The Applied Biosystems Group (NYSE: ABI) serves the life science industry and research community by developing and marketing instrument-based systems, consumables, software, and services. Applied Biosystems is headquartered in Foster City, CA, and reported sales of $1.7 billion during fiscal 2003. Celera Diagnostics, a 50/50 joint venture between Applied Biosystems and Celera Genomics, is focused on discovery, development, and commercialization of novel diagnostic products. Information about Applera Corporation, including reports and other information filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, is available at, or by telephoning 800.762.6923. Information about Celera Genomics is available at

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," "intend," "anticipate," "should," "planned," and "potential," among others. 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 Corporation 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. The risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to: (1) uncertain outcome of Merck’s clinical program related or of future regulatory submissions related to the Cathepsin K inhibitor; (2) risk that Celera Genomics may receive no additional milestone or royalty payments under this collaboration agreement; (3) Celera Genomics has no direct influence on the potential outcome of the clinical development program, which Merck may discontinue at any time for any reason; and (4) other factors that might be described from time to time in Applera Corporation’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.

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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