Prometheus Laboratories Introduces Non-Invasive Test for the Detection of Liver Fibrosis

    SAN DIEGO, Oct. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Prometheus Laboratories Inc., a
specialty pharmaceutical company, announced today that it is introducing a new
non-invasive approach to help detect liver fibrosis in patients with chronic
hepatitis C.  The test will be introduced at the American Association for the
Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) meeting to be held in Boston on November 1-5,
    The new non-invasive liver fibrosis test, called FIBROSpect(SM), measures
three biological markers associated with the development of liver fibrosis.
The markers are used to help physicians differentiate patients who have no or
mild liver fibrosis from patients who have significant liver fibrosis.  This
information may assist physicians in making diagnostic triage and treatment
decisions for patients with chronic hepatitis C.  Presently, the "gold
standard" used to determine the extent of liver fibrosis in patients is a
needle biopsy.  Liver biopsies are invasive, costly and can be associated with
a number of painful or severe complications.
    "We believe that the introduction of FIBROSpect is an important and
exciting step in the evolution of liver disease assessment and management,"
stated James A. Schoeneck, Prometheus' President and Chief Executive Officer.
"FIBROSpect may help physicians determine the necessity for a liver biopsy,
thereby reducing the potential for procedural complications."
    "The addition of FIBROSpect to our diagnostic product line reinforces our
commitment of bringing innovative diagnostic tests to physicians that we
believe will be valuable in managing their patients' care," commented Doug
Jermasek, Vice President of Marketing at Prometheus.  "FIBROSpect is the first
commercially available, non-invasive sero-diagnostic test panel of its kind."
    According to the most recent estimates by the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, 3.9 million people are currently infected with hepatitis C in
the U.S., with 2.7 million being chronically infected.  Chronic hepatitis C
varies in its course and outcome.  At one end of the spectrum are patients who
have no sign of liver disease and the overall prognosis may be good.  At the
other end of the spectrum are patients with chronic hepatitis C and advanced
fibrosis, who may ultimately develop end-stage liver disease.  The major
hepatological consequence of liver disease is the progression to fibrosis and
cirrhosis (scarring), which can lead to liver cancer or the need for a liver
    Prometheus Laboratories Inc. is a specialty pharmaceutical company
committed to developing new ways to help physicians personalize patient care.
The Company's focus is on treating diseases and disorders associated with the
gastrointestinal tract, as well as autoimmune and inflammatory diseases such
as rheumatoid arthritis.  The strategy includes the marketing and delivery of
proprietary, high-value diagnostic testing services that complement the
Company's pharmaceutical products.  By integrating these therapeutic,
diagnostic and treatment monitoring services, Prometheus can address the full
continuum of care, thereby providing physicians with a comprehensive solution
to treat chronic diseases.  Prometheus' corporate offices are located in San
Diego, California.  Additional information about Prometheus Laboratories can
be found at
    This press release contains certain "forward-looking statements" within
the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Such
forward-looking statements are subject to various risks, and Prometheus
cautions that any forward-looking information is not a guarantee of future
performance.  The Company may not achieve or maintain market acceptance for a
variety of reasons.  There can be no assurance that the Company can
successfully commercialize or penetrate the market for its products.