updated 6/9/2011 8:45:33 AM ET 2011-06-09T12:45:33

SAN DIEGO, June 9, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Harbor BioSciences, Inc. (OTCBB:HRBR) today announced that it has signed an umbrella generic drugs distribution agreement with China Institute of Pharmaceutical Industry (CIPI). In December, Harbor BioSciences, a biopharmaceutical development company, licensed the research and development and commercialization rights for three of its products exclusively in the People's Republic of China and Hong Kong, to CIPI, a vertically integrated drug development organization that is jointly owned by the Chinese government and the Sinopharm Group.

The new agreement provides that Harbor BioSciences and CIPI will select one or more of CIPI's drugs or other products for distribution outside China under separately negotiated sub agreements. The new agreement provides that Harbor BioSciences is to receive commercial development, sales and sublicense rights for products under executed sub agreements. Sales of CIPI's products will bear a royalty to Harbor BioSciences.

Therapeutic areas that can be served by compounds that may be obtained from CIPI are broad and include oncology, inflammation, ophthalmology and anti-microbials (including anti-bacterials and anti-fungals). Harbor BioSciences believes that about 200 CIPI drugs will ultimately be available for distribution with about 50 drugs available immediately.

"At present, we believe that CIPI and their affiliates can undercut competitor's costs and/or provide drugs that are difficult to make and are often in short supplies," explained James Frincke, Ph.D., Harbor BioSciences Chief Executive Officer. "Some of the economic power of our access to drugs for global distribution resides in CIPI's willingness to pursue drugs that are difficult to make and CIPI's ability to make these drugs without reliance on third parties for high-cost synthetic intermediates; as well as CIPI's size and close relationship with the Chinese central government, which is backing them financially. China intends to become the dominant country in global pharmaceuticals and they are aggressively pursuing that goal."

Harbor BioSciences intends to explore distribution and business partners to participate in and help implement the distribution of CIPI's drug portfolio. Organizations with existing distribution networks or that may have an interest in rapidly establishing efficient and competitive new networks would be ideal candidates for potential partnerships. 

Agreement Summary

Harbor BioSciences, Inc. entered into the umbrella distribution agreement with CIPI. The agreement provides that Harbor BioSciences and CIPI will select one or more drugs or other products for distribution outside China under separately negotiated sub agreements. The new agreement provides that Harbor BioSciences will receive commercial development, sales and sublicense rights for any products under executed sub agreements. Sales of CIPI's products will bear a royalty to Harbor BioSciences.

The new agreement provides that distribution rights for generic pharmaceutical drugs, CIPI's diagnostic and drug delivery technology and nutraceutical products, including traditional Chinese medicines, may be provided under sub agreements.  The intent of the distribution agreement is to make CIPI's products available outside of China and Hong Kong at prices that potentially undercut any manufacturer's product costs. The umbrella agreement is non-exclusive, but Harbor BioSciences believes that each sub agreement will likely be exclusive for individual products. 

About CIPI

CIPI was recently formed by a merger of the Shanghai Institute of Pharmaceutical Industry (SIPI) and other institutes and companies. SIPI's R&D focus has been in the areas of cancer, infectious diseases, cardiovascular, autoimmune disorders, endocrinology and the central nervous system. CIPI is a subsidiary of the China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation (Sinopharm), China's largest pharmaceutical and health industrial group under the state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council. Sinopharm reported 2010 revenues of approximately $10.3 billion U.S. and $180 million in profit. For additional information on Sinopharm and CIPI please go to www.harborbiosciences.com

About Harbor BioSciences, Inc.     

Harbor BioSciences is a development-stage company with two product candidates which recently completed Phase I/IIa clinical trials: Apoptone® (HE3235) in patients with late-stage prostate cancer, and Triolex® (HE3286) 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 please visit www.harborbiosciences.com.

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. 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. Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as "anticipates," "intends," "plans," "seeks," "believes," "estimates," "expects" and similar references to future periods. 

Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties inherent in the Company's business, including, but not limited to: the ability to complete preclinical and clinical trials successfully and within specified timelines, if at all; the Company's capital needs; the Company's ability to obtain additional funding; our ability to obtain regulatory approvals for generic drugs in various countries and regions; our ability to find suitable distribution partners; our ability to successfully negotiate and execute sub agreements; our ability to generate revenue with the CIPI distribution agreement; the number of drugs made available from CIPI; 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
         rweber@harborbiosciences.com

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