updated 2/23/2011 8:45:57 AM ET 2011-02-23T13:45:57

RALEIGH, N.C., Feb. 23, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- DARA BioSciences, Inc. (Nasdaq:DARA), a Raleigh, North Carolina biopharmaceutical drug development company, has been selected by MDB Capital Group as a 2011 "Best & Brightest" company and a "Company to Watch."

"Being chosen as a 'Best & Brightest' (BB) Company is recognition of the extraordinary work we are doing in developing new medicines to treat some of the most life-threatening diseases and debilitating chronic conditions, which we hope will result in a healthier tomorrow. Everyone at DARA BioSciences is honored by our company's selection," said Richard A. Franco, CEO/President of DARA BioSciences. Prior to co-founding DARA BioSciences in 2003, Mr. Franco was co-founder of LipoScience, Inc., senior strategist for a multi-national pharmaceutical giant, and an entrepreneur.

Christopher Marlett, CEO of MDB Capital Group, commended the DARA BioSciences management team by saying, "The Company's imbedded IP value and demonstrated innovation places it in the top 10% of the approximately 1500 technology companies trading below $500MM in market value as ranked by our proprietary IP intelligence database called PatentVest.  Our research has shown that this elite group of companies demonstrating above average PatentVest metrics, such as PatentVest Tech Score and the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of patent applications, has significantly outperformed their publicly traded peers.  In addition, companies in this group have demonstrated higher margins and more sustained growth."

A link to the PatentVest report can be found at MDB Capital Group's website at www.mdb.com

DARA currently has two drugs in clinical development that have the potential to help people with cancer and diabetes. KRN5500 has successfully completed a Phase 2 study for the treatment of neuropathic pain and is in partnership with the National Cancer Institute to study the treatment and prevention of chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy in cancer patients. DB959 has completed its first Phase I clinical study and plans to start a second in Q1 2011 for the treatment of type 2 diabetes potentially without having the side effects from other medicines now being used. 

Additionally, DARA BioSciences has a portfolio of 88 granted US and foreign patents and 60 additional pending applications for their therapeutic drug candidates.

For more information, visit www.darabiosciences.com

About DARA BioSciences, Inc.

DARA BioSciences, Inc. (Nasdaq:DARA) is a Raleigh, North Carolina based biopharmaceutical development company that acquires promising therapeutic candidates and develops them through proof of concept in humans for subsequent sale or out-licensing to larger pharmaceutical companies.  Presently DARA has two drug candidates with cleared IND (Investigational New Drug) Applications from the United States FDA.  The Company has a pipeline of diverse drug candidates at various stages of development, with 88 granted patents and 60 pending applications (US and foreign).  The first drug candidate KRN5500 has successfully completed a Phase 2 clinical trial treating neuropathic pain in patients with cancer.  KRN5500 met its primary endpoint and was statistically significantly (p=0.03) better than placebo.  A second Phase 2 clinical trial is planned during the first half of 2011.  The second drug candidate DB959 is a highly selective, non-thiazolidinedione (TZD), first-in-class dual PPAR (peroxisome proliferator activated receptor) delta/gamma agonist in development for type 2 diabetes.  A Phase 1a clinical study for DB959 was successfully completed in 2010 with a multiple ascending dose trial planned for the first half of 2011.  In addition, DARA owns CPT-1 inhibitors intended for topical application for patients with psoriasis, a library of DDPIV inhibitors and a diverse library of approximately 1800 PPAR agonists of various molecular modalities.  PPAR receptors are found throughout the human body and recent publications report that PPAR agonists may be useful in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, cystic fibrosis, liver disease, and a variety of autoimmune diseases.  Because its diverse PPAR library has the potential to address the unmet medical needs of these diseases, the Company plans to explore several of these indications.

Safe Harbor Statement

All statements in this news release that are not historical are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Such forward-looking statements are subject to factors that could cause actual results to differ materially for DARA from those projected. Those factors include risks and uncertainties relating to DARA's current cash position and its need to raise additional capital in order to be able to continue to fund its operations, the potential delisting of DARA's common stock from the NASDAQ Capital Market, DARA's limited operating history which may make it difficult to evaluate DARA's business and future viability, DARA's ability to retain its managerial personnel and to attract additional personnel, DARA's ability to successfully develop and outlicense its drug candidates as anticipated, the current regulatory environment in which the company develops and sells its products, the market acceptance of those products, dependence on partners, successful performance under collaborative and other commercial agreements, potential product liability risks that could exceed our liability coverage, competition from other pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies and other research and academic institutions, the strength of DARA's intellectual property, the intellectual property of others and other risk factors identified in the documents DARA has filed, or will file, with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). In addition, all statements herein regarding DARA's future stock or financial performance, the actual or perceived value of DARA's intellectual property portfolio, and any increase in DARA's revenue, margins or financial results based on its being named to the list of the "Best and Brightest" companies by MDB Group are forward-looking statements, and the risks that contribute to the uncertain nature of these forward-looking statements include, among other things: that the performance of other companies named to the "Best and Brightest" list, either currently or in the past, may have no bearing on DARA's performance; the attention drawn to DARA because of its being added to the "Best and Brightest" list, which may be minimal; the actual or perceived value of DARA's intellectual property portfolio; the ability of DARA to protect its portfolio or secure additional patens or other intellectual property rights; the ability of DARA to commercialize all or any portion of its patent portfolio; and, unforeseen technological, intellectual property, supply, personnel or development issues. MDB Capital is independent from DARA, and DARA is not responsible for, nor does it have any control over, any statements, computations or opinions expressed by MDB Capital. Copies of DARA's filings with the SEC may be obtained from the SEC Internet site at http://www.sec.gov. All forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date on which they were made. DARA expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in DARA's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions, or circumstances on which any such statements are based. DARA BioSciences and the DARA logo are trademarks of DARA BioSciences, Inc. 

CONTACT:  Wyatt Communications LLC
          MJ Wyatt 
          212 661-9610
          mjwyatt@erols.com
 
          Arthur Solomon 
          914 472-6598
          arthursolomon4pr@juno.com

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