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SEARLE AND HYBRIDON SIGN LETTER OF INTENT RELATING TO STRATEGIC ALLIANCE TO DEVELOP GENETIC ANTISENSE COMPOUNDS IN FIELD OF IMMUNOMODULATION

JANUARY 17, 1996 -- Skokie, Illinois -- Searle announced today it has entered into a non-binding letter of intent on a research, development and licensing collaboration with Hybridon, Inc. of Worcester, MA, to develop genetic antisense compounds directed at up to eight molecular targets associated with immunomodulation, including rheumatoid arthritis and transplant rejection.

The letter of intent provides for Searle to fund specified research and development activities with respect to an initial molecular target. These activities will be conducted by a team of scientists from Hybridon and Searle. Subject to achievement of development benchmarks and the exercise of various options by Searle to expand the alliance, Searle may make various equity, milestone and additional research and development payments to Hybridon. In addition, Hybridon will grant Searle an option to expand the relationship through the formation of a 50/50 joint venture in the field of immunomodulation.

Searle will receive the exclusive worldwide right to commercialize any products resulting from the collaboration. Hybridon will be entitled to royalties from product sales. In addition, subject to satisfying certain conditions, Hybridon will retain manufacturing rights for any products and Searle will be required to purchase such products from Hybridon on an exclusive basis at specified prices. Searle will be responsible for all preclinical testing, clinical trials and regulatory approvals. Hybridon will be responsible for medicinal chemistry and manufacturing, including analytics.

The letter of intent contemplates that Searle would purchase $10 million of common stock in Hybridon's initial public offering. Hybridon has filed a registration statement covering the offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Searle, a wholly owned subsidiary of Monsanto Company, develops, manufactures and markets pharmaceuticals and other healthcare solutions worldwide.

Hybridon, headquartered in Worcester, MA, is a leader in the discovery and development of novel genetic medicines based primarily on antisense technology. Antisense involves the use of synthetic segments of nucleic aid, called oligonucleotides, constructed through rational drug design to modulate protein expression by interacting at the genetic level with target messenger RNA.

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