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Vertex Pharmaceuticals Announces the Completion of its Acquisition of Aurora Biosciences
July 18, 2001, Cambridge, MA --Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (Nasdaq:VRTX) today announced the completion of its acquisition of Aurora Biosciences Corporation (Nasdaq:ABSC). The transaction was completed today after Vertex and Aurora shareholders voted to approve the merger agreement at special meetings held at Vertex's and Aurora's headquarters.

The merger is a tax-free stock-for-stock exchange. As a result of the acquisition, Aurora shareholders will receive 0.62 shares of Vertex common stock for each share of Aurora common stock. Cash will be provided for fractional shares. Letters of transmittal regarding the procedures to exchange Aurora common stock for Vertex common stock will be sent to former Aurora stockholders in the near future. Aurora will deregister its common stock with the Securities and Exchange Commission and delist its common stock from the Nasdaq Stock Market.

As a result of the merger, Aurora will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Vertex and will continue to carry the Aurora name. Aurora will continue to pursue its strategy of collaborating with new and existing partners in all capacities.

"Vertex is a leader in small molecule drug discovery. This merger represents a significant step in our strategy to enhance and accelerate the design and development of major new drugs," stated Joshua Boger, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. "By integrating Aurora's capabilities into Vertex's chemogenomics platform, we will be able to rapidly expand research into major new gene families, as well as enhance our existing multi-target gene family research program in the kinase, caspase and protease gene families. Vertex has a strong track record of creating drug candidates targeting significant unmet medical needs, and the technologies and capabilities gained from this merger will increase our ability to create medically important drugs."

The merger unites Aurora's industry-leading assay development, screening and cell biology capabilities with Vertex's integrated drug discovery expertise, creating a comprehensive, scalable platform for systematically accelerating drug candidate output in target-rich gene families. The combination of Vertex's and Aurora's technology and expertise is expected to:

increase the flow of novel drug candidates into development,
accelerate the creation of a broad intellectual property estate, and
provide an enhanced opportunity of collaborations in drug discovery, development and commercialization.

Stuart Collinson, Ph.D., Aurora's former Chairman, CEO and President, will serve on Vertex's Board of Directors. Harry Stylli, Ph.D., Aurora's former Senior Vice President of Commercial Development, will be President of the Aurora subsidiary. PanVera, which also will retain its name, will operate as an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Vertex and will continue to report to Aurora
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