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SAN DIEGO, July 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Aurora Biosciences Corporation
(Nasdaq: ABSC) announced today that Module Two of Aurora's ultra-high
throughput screening system, the UHTSS(TM) Platform, has been installed,
validated and accepted at the Merck Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK) research facility
in West Point, Pennsylvania. This module consists of five separate subsystems
that conduct assays in miniaturized formats and includes capabilities for
dispensing reagents and compounds into the NanoWell(TM) 3456-well Assay
Plates, fluorescence detection, incubation and hit picking. Merck's
validation and acceptance of the module triggers the remaining portion of the
Module Two delivery payment.
"Merck's acceptance of the second module further demonstrates that
Aurora's world-class technologies continue to meet our customer's needs for
speed and innovation for drug discovery," stated Thomas G. Klopack, Aurora's
chief operating officer. "The Aurora team has now completed three successful
validations of our Module Two components. As we bring the UHTSS Platform
on-line, we will continue to apply our expertise and know-how to provide
solutions to challenges in the discovery of new medicines."
The third and final UHTSS(TM) module includes the integration of all the
modules under central supervisory control, as well as a powerful master
database capable of analyzing, storing and integrating data from ultra-high
throughput screening efforts and other sources in a master database.
Completion is scheduled for Aurora's own UHTSS Platform by the second half of
2000 and the Company expects to bring its customers' UHTSS systems on-line in
separate stages from the second half of 2000 through the first half of 2001.
Merck Co., Inc. is a global, research-driven pharmaceutical company that
discovers, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of human and
animal health products, directly and through its joint ventures, and provides
pharmaceutical benefits services through Merck-Medco Managed Care.

Aurora designs, develops and commercializes advanced drug discovery
technologies, services and systems to accelerate the discovery of new
medicines. The Company's core technologies include a broad portfolio of
proprietary fluorescence assay technologies, including its GeneBLAzer(TM) and
VIPR(TM) technologies, its functional genomics GenomeScreen(TM) program, its
automated master compound store, the AMCS, and its ultra-high throughput
screening system (UHTSS(TM) Platform) and subsystems to miniaturize and
automate drug screening and profiling assays derived from those technologies.
Aurora technologies have been commercially validated by over 15 major life
sciences companies and research organizations, including American Home
Products, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Eli Lilly Co., Glaxo Wellcome, Genentech, Inc., Johnson Johnson, Merck Co., Inc., NV
Organon Laboratories, Pfizer, Inc., and Warner-Lambert Company, in the form of
commercialization agreements for discovery services, licenses or systems. For
additional information on Aurora's services and products, please contact Sales
and Marketing via email at marcom@aurorabio.com.

Statements in this press release that are not strictly historical are
"forward-looking" statements which involve a high degree of risk and
uncertainty. Such forward-looking statements include statements regarding
positioning of Aurora in the marketplace, timing of completion and delivery
and future performance of UHTSS(TM) modules, the receipt of future delivery
payments and the development of second generation subsystems and instruments.
Such statements are only predictions and the actual events or results may
differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements.
Factors that could cause or contribute to differences include risks involved
with the Company's new and uncertain technology, including Aurora's ability to
complete the manufacture and delivery of Module Three or any other portion of
the UHTSS(TM), the risk that the completed technology will not be approved by
Merck or other collaborators, the risks associated with the dependence on
patents and proprietary rights, dependence on existing pharmaceutical and
biotechnology collaborations, and the development or availability of competing
systems. These factors and others are more fully described in the Company's
Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for the fiscal year ended December 31, 1999, and
any subsequent Forms 10-Q, as filed with the Securities and Exchange
Commission. For additional corporate information, visit the Aurora website at
http://www.aurorabio.com.

GeneBLAzer(TM), GenomeScreen(TM), NanoWell(TM), UHTSS(TM) and VIPR(TM) are
trademarks of Aurora Biosciences Corporation.

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