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Organon, Ligand to Co-Promote AVINZA, First True Once-Daily Opioid for Chronic, Moderate-to-Severe Pain

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Companies Expect to Achieve No. 2 Share of Voice in $2.7 Billion Marketplace With More than 800 Sales Representatives

ROSELAND, N.J. & SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Feb. 24, 2003– Organon, a business unit of Akzo Nobel (Nasdaq: AKZOY – News), and Ligand (Nasdaq: LGND – News) will co-promote Ligand’s AVINZA® (morphine sulfate extended-release capsules), the first true once-daily opioid for chronic, moderate-to-severe pain, with more than 800 sales representatives in the United States, the companies announced today.

“Organon is absolutely delighted with this co-promotion agreement with Ligand, and we look forward to working with our new partner on this exciting business opportunity,” said Michael Novinski, president of Organon Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. “Based on its true once-daily oral dosing and around-the-clock pain relief, AVINZA can be a best-in-class product in a large and growing market. AVINZA also is a great fit for our product portfolio, and uses the strengths and relationships we have established over the years in primary care, anesthesiology and hospitals. We are truly excited about this unique sales opportunity and look forward to a prosperous and long-term relationship with Ligand.”

“We are very pleased to co-promote AVINZA with our colleagues at Organon,” said David E. Robinson, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Ligand. “Through this agreement, we have achieved the three key AVINZA goals we set out to accomplish for our shareholders in the second half of 2002 and early 2003. First, we gained strong partner resource commitments in primary care, hospitals and managed care to maximize AVINZA’s potential as our largest near-term commercial opportunity. Second, we structured a risk/return-balanced set of economics that incentivizes our partner to achieve much greater success than Ligand could alone, that provides a positive operational EPS driver to Ligand, and that enables an attractive return on our cumulative investments in AVINZA. Third, we strengthened our capabilities in retail and wholesale distribution, medical marketing and managed care to support AVINZA. We believe this long-term relationship with Organon builds on positive AVINZA prescription trends and represents another giant step forward with roll out of our joint efforts beginning in March and April.”

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