Cardiome Reaches Agreement With Merck to Retire Debt and Close Line of Credit

Cardiome Reaches Agreement With Merck to Retire Debt and Close Line of Credit

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Dec. 11, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cardiome Pharma
Corp. (Nasdaq:CRME) (TSX:COM) today announced that the company has reached an
agreement with Merck to settle its debt obligations stemming from the
companies' collaboration and license agreement for vernakalant, signed in
April 2009.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Cardiome will pay Merck $20
million on or before March 31, 2013, to settle its outstanding debt of $50
million owed to Merck. The payment will be made from Cardiome's existing cash
balance, which totalled $53.6 million at the end of September 2012. Pursuant
to the vernakalant collaboration and license agreement Merck had granted
Cardiome an interest-bearing credit facility of up to $100 million, secured by
a first priority security interest in the company's vernakalant patents
throughout the world and all associated proceeds. The settlement between
Cardiome and Merck will terminate the credit facility and, upon payment of the
$20 million settlement amount, will release and discharge the collateral
security taken in respect of the advances under the line of credit.

"Complete resolution of our $50 million debt obligation to Merck removes a
significant financial and operational overhang for Cardiome," stated William
Hunter, M.D., Cardiome's interim CEO. "I am pleased with the progress we are
making on the transfer of vernakalant back to Cardiome and we appreciate the
efforts of Merck to make the transition of BRINAVESS^TM as smooth as possible
for our doctors and patients in Europe and other markets. Merck's commitment
to our product and our patients, and to putting Cardiome on a stable financial
footing, will allow us to manage our business unencumbered and realize the
commercial and medical value of vernakalant."

In September 2012, Merck informed Cardiome that Merck (through two of its
subsidiaries) would return the global marketing and development rights for
both the intravenous (IV) and oral formulations of vernakalant to Cardiome.
Vernakalant IV is marketed under the brand name BRINAVESS^TM.BRINAVESS^TM has
received approval in the European Union and certain other markets worldwide
for the rapid conversion of recent onset atrial fibrillation (AF) to sinus
rhythm in adults: for non-surgery patients with AF of seven days or less and
for post-cardiac surgery patients with AF of three days or less.Vernakalant
IV is not approved for use in the United States or Canada.

About Cardiome Pharma Corp.

Cardiome Pharma Corp. is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the
discovery, development and commercialization of new therapies that will
improve the health of patients around the world. Cardiome has one marketed
product, BRINAVESS^TM (vernakalant IV), approved in Europe and other
territories for the rapid conversion of recent onset atrial fibrillation to
sinus rhythm in adults.

Cardiome is traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market (CRME) and the Toronto Stock
Exchange (COM). For more information, please visit our web site at

Forward-Looking Statement Disclaimer

Certain statements in this press release contain forward-looking statements
within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 or
forward-looking information under applicable Canadian securities legislation
that may not be based on historical fact, including without limitation
statements containing the words "believe", "may", "plan", "will", "estimate",
"continue", "anticipate", "intend", "expect" and similar expressions. Such
forward-looking statements or information involve known and unknown risks,
uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, events or
developments, or industry results, to be materially different from any future
results, events or developments expressed or implied by such forward-looking
statements or information. Risks, uncertainties and factors that could cause
such actual events or results expressed or implied by such forward-looking
statements and information to differ materially from any future events or
results expressed or implied by such statements and information include, but
are not limited to, the risks, uncertainties and factors related to the fact
that: we, together with our collaborative partners, may not be able to
successfully develop all or any of our current or future products and may not
be able to obtain regulatory approval in targeted indications for our current
or future products in all markets; we may not achieve or maintain
profitability; our future operating results are uncertain and likely to
fluctuate; we may not be able to raise additional capital as and when
required; we depend on our collaborative partners to perform their obligations
under licensing or other collaborative agreements; we may not be successful in
establishing additional corporate collaborations or licensing arrangements; we
may not be able to establish marketing and sales capabilities and the costs of
launching our products may be greater than anticipated; any of our products
that obtain regulatory approval will be subject to extensive post-market
regulation that may affect sales, marketing and profitability; any of our
products that are successfully developed may not achieve market acceptance; we
rely on third parties for the continued supply and manufacture of our products
and have no experience in commercial manufacturing; we may face unknown risks
related to intellectual property matters, including with respect to our
ability to protect our intellectual property; we face increased competition
from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies; and other factors as
described in detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission
available at and the Canadian securities regulatory authorities at Given these risks, uncertainties and factors, you are
cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements and
information, which are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary
statement. All forward-looking statements and information made herein are
based on our current expectations and we undertake no obligation to revise or
update such forward-looking statements and information to reflect subsequent
events or circumstances, except as required by law.

CONTACT: For Further Information:
         Cardiome Investor Relations
         (604) 676-6993 or Toll Free: 1-800-330-9928
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