updated 2/1/2011 8:45:44 AM ET 2011-02-01T13:45:44

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 1, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Harbor BioSciences, Inc. (OTCBB:HRBR), a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of cancer, metabolic and inflammatory diseases, today announced publication of newly discovered anti-inflammatory steroids naturally present in humans. The paper, "Novel components of the human metabolome: the identification, characterization and anti-inflammatory activity of two 5-androstene tetrols," was published in the journal, "Steroids" [January, Vol.76(1-2)]. Scientists from Harbor BioSciences first identified these tetrols as natural steroids and pre-clinical studies indicate the usefulness of these compounds in treating inflammation-driven diseases including arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and COPD.

The paper describes 5-androstene tetrols metabolites of DHEA that have anti-inflammatory activity and are found naturally at very low concentrations in humans. Unlike most natural steroids, the tetrols are orally bioavailable and do not undergo extensive metabolism. Tests in animal models show that they have anti-inflammatory activity similar to the commonly prescribed glucocorticoid steroids, but do not appear to have any of the deleterious side effects that frequently accompany glucocorticoid use such as bone loss, immunosuppression, hyperglycemia, glaucoma, cataracts and cognitive disorders. Most importantly, these molecules do not appear to cause anabolic or estrogenic effects and are not toxic in studies to date.

Harbor BioSciences has been issued several patents in the U.S. and Australia covering these compounds with additional patents pending in Europe and Canada. The patents cover formulations, methods of use and solid-state forms of the tetrols.

James M. Frincke, Ph.D., Harbor BioSciences Chief Executive Officer, remarked, "The discoveries reported by company scientists are representative of the untapped wealth of pharmaceutical compounds in Harbor BioSciences' proprietary steroid platform. Because these molecules occur naturally in humans, they have the potential for development as either pharmaceuticals or nutritional supplements. We believe that the profiles of these steroids in combination with their natural oral bioavailability make them ideal candidates to treat inflammation in a broad spectrum of diseases such arthritis, COPD, and type 2 diabetes."

About Harbor BioSciences, Inc.     

Harbor BioSciences is a development-stage company with two product candidates recently in clinical trials: Apoptone ® (HE3235) in the cohort expansion portion of a Phase I/IIa trial of patients with late-stage prostate cancer, and Triolex® (HE3286), has completed Phase IIa trials in obese type 2 diabetes mellitus patients.   Apoptone and Triolex represent two of the lead candidates from Harbor BioSciences' small molecule platform based on metabolites or synthetic analogs of endogenous human steroids. For more information on Harbor BioSciences please visit www.harborbiosciences.com .


This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws concerning, among other things, the development of human steroids to treat inflammation in arthritis, type 2 diabetes, COPD and other common diseases, tetrols maintaining their structure in the blood stream when administered orally, the value of pharmaceutical entities in Harbor BioSciences' proprietary steroid platform, the potential for development of the steroids as either pharmaceuticals or nutritional supplements and the steroids ability to treat inflammation in a broad spectrum of diseases. Any statements included in this press release that are not a description of historical facts are forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors which, if they do not materialize or prove correct, could cause Harbor BioSciences' actual results to differ materially from historical results or those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties inherent in the Company's business, including, but not limited to: the Company's capital needs; the Company's ability to obtain additional funding; the ability to complete pre-clinical and clinical trials successfully and within specified timelines, if at all; the Company's ability to obtain regulatory approval for Apoptone, Triolex, or any other investigational drug candidate; and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Existing and prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Except as required by law, Harbor BioSciences undertakes no obligation to update or revise the information contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or circumstances arising after the date of this press release.

CONTACT: Robert Weber
         Chief Financial Officer
         Harbor BioSciences, Inc.
         (858) 587-9333

© Copyright 2012, GlobeNewswire, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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