Scientists at NPS Allelix Corp. (a
subsidiary of NPS Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) in collaboration with scientists and
astronauts at NASA designed and conducted bone growth studies on NASA’s space
shuttle Discovery.
The results presented at the NASA/NIH meeting in
Washington, D.C. on Friday, demonstrated for the first time that normal
osteoblasts, the cells responsible for bone growth, were able to produce new
bone within the microgravity environment of space. Moreover, NPS’s potential
anti-osteoporosis drug ALX1-11 was shown to enhance this growth by
68 percent.

The rapid loss of bone mass encountered by astronauts in space has long
been a concern and a significant limitation to the long-term duration of space
These experiments showed that a key biological mechanism contributing
to decreased bone mass is a reduction in the ability of osteoblasts to produce
bone in space.
Cells cultured on the space shuttle Discovery produced
approximately 22 percent less bone relative to counterparts grown under normal
gravity conditions on Earth.
This is consistent with previous estimates of a
4 to 10-fold more rapid rate of decline in bone mass in space relative to
These experiments, sponsored by the Canadian Space Agency and overseen
by payload specialist, former Sen. John H. Glenn, provided a unique and
valuable environment to better understand space induced bone loss as well as
presenting a model system to study the causes and potential treatments of
osteoporosis on Earth.

“These data confirm the stimulation of bone formation by ALX1-11 in
osteoblasts in space as previously shown on Earth,” said Dennis Sindrey,
Principal Scientist for the ALX1-11 project at NPS Allelix.
“In addition,
data illustrate the role of gravity in the complex process of bone growth.”

ALX1-11 has been shown to be effective in reversing bone loss suffered by
patients with postmenopausal osteoporosis.
A Phase II clinical trial with
200 postmenopausal women given daily doses of 100 micrograms exhibited an
average increase in spinal bone density of approximately 7 percent after a
12-month period.
This is a significant improvement over current treatments.
This compound is scheduled to enter Phase III clinical trials in the second
quarter of year 2000.

NPS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. / NPS Allelix, in the US and Canada
respectively, are engaged in the discovery and development of small molecule
drugs that are intended to address a variety of important diseases.
company is developing therapies for treating hyperparathyroidism with Kirin
Brewery and Amgen Inc., and an additional therapy for treating osteoporosis is
being developed with SmithKline Beecham.
In addition, NPS has partnerships
with Eli Lilly and Janssen that address various CNS disorders, and an ongoing
clinical development program in epilepsy and bipolar disorder.
For more
information please see the company’s website at

Note: Statements included within this press release, which are not
historical in nature, constitute forward-looking statements for purposes of
the safe harbor provided by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of
Such statements involve risk and uncertainties that could cause actual
results to differ materially from those described herein.
consideration should be given to cautionary statements made in NPS documents
filed with the SEC, in particular the company’s 10K.

David L. Clark, Vice President, Corporate Communications and
Development of NPS Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 801-583-4939.