Biota Pharmaceuticals Announces Results of Strategic and Operational Review

Biota Pharmaceuticals Announces Results of Strategic and Operational Review

Revised Strategy Shifts Focus to Clinical-Stage Development Programs

ATLANTA, April 15, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Biota Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
(Nasdaq:BOTA) today announced that its Board of Directors has adopted a
revised corporate strategy following the recent completion of management's
strategic and operational review of the organization and its various
development programs. The implementation of this strategy will shift the
Company's primary focus from early-stage research to clinical-stage
development programs that it could independently advance into late-stage
development. Immediate actions will include rationalizing the Company's
preclinical programs, a realignment of its operations and resources, and a
reduction in its workforce.

Key components of the Company's strategy include, but are not limited to:

  *Continuing to fully support and advance the development of laninamivir
    octanoate for the treatment of influenza A and B infections in the U.S.
    market under its existing contract with the U.S. Office of Biomedical
    Advanced Research and Development Authority ("BARDA");
  *Reducing the number of existing preclinical programs by focusing
    preclinical activities on developing an oral antiviral for respiratory
    syncytial virus ("RSV") and an oral/IV antibiotic targeting GyrB/ParE with
    activity against gram-negative and multi-drug resistant bacterial
    pathogens;
  *Concluding preclinical activities related to hepatitis C non-nucleoside
    polymerase inhibitors and antibiotics for gram-positive bacterial
    infections, while continuing to pursue out-licensing opportunities for
    these programs;
  *Completing the evaluation of various clinical and regulatory pathways over
    the next several quarters for vapendavir to determine whether to
    independently continue its late-stage clinical development for the
    reduction of exacerbations caused by human rhinovirus (HRV) in patients
    with moderate to severe asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
    (COPD);
  *Pursuing in-licensing, acquisition, co-development, and other similar
    collaborative clinical-stage development opportunities to better balance
    its pipeline; and
  *Reducing its cost structure to provide flexibility to deploy additional
    resources toward clinical-stage development programs.

"We are taking these steps to establish a strong financial and operational
foundation from which to leverage our flu franchise and balance our
development pipeline with more differentiated, clinical-stage development
programs," stated Russell H. Plumb, President and Chief Executive Officer of
Biota Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "This strategy is designed to streamline our
portfolio of preclinical programs, conserve capital, and focus our operations
on advancing or securing development programs that we believe can best drive
shareholder value over the next several years."

The reduction in the Company's workforce will be implemented immediately,
reducing the number of its employees and contractors by approximately 30% over
the next several quarters. The reduction will be concentrated on research and
development functions dedicated to drug discovery, but other areas of the
organization, including general and administrative positions, will be
affected. As a result, the Company anticipates recording a charge of
approximately $2.0 million in the fourth quarter of its 2013 fiscal year (the
Company's fiscal year-end is June 30) related to the cost of one-time
termination benefits. The Company expects an annual reduction in salaries and
benefits of approximately $3.8 million on an ongoing basis.

Based upon the adoption of this corporate strategy, the Company believes that
its base burn from operations will decrease substantially in fiscal 2014, and
anticipates that its cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments on hand
will be approximately $62-$67 million at June 30, 2014. This estimate includes
anticipated operating expenses, royalty revenue and revenue under its existing
BARDA contract, but excludes the impact of any changes in operating assets and
liabilities, costs associated with the potential clinical advancement of
vapendavir, as well as any incremental costs associated with in-licensing,
acquiring and/or further advancing any new development program. As of December
31, 2012, the Company held $74.1 million in cash and cash equivalents.

In addition to announcing its revised strategy, the Company also provided the
following updates:

  *The Company anticipates initiating a Phase 2 clinical trial of laninamivir
    octanoate in the second quarter of calendar year 2013 in the Southern
    Hemisphere;
  *Based upon the results of recently completed preclinical IND-enabling
    toxicological studies, the Company does not intend to advance BTA-C286,
    its lead RSV fusion inhibitor, into clinical development; however, it
    expects to continue the preclinical development of several back-up RSV
    fusion inhibitors in 2014; and
  *The Company has closed its Rockville, Maryland facility and expects to
    complete the relocation of its U.S. corporate headquarters to Atlanta,
    Georgia in May, 2013.

About Biota

Biota Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the
discovery and development of anti-infective products to prevent and treat a
number of serious and potentially life-threatening viral and bacterial
infectious diseases. The Company has discovered two generations of
neuraminidase inhibitors (NIs) that have been commercialized, the first of
which is zanamivir, marketed world-wide as Relenza^® by GlaxoSmithKline. The
Company's second generation NIs are referred to as long-acting neuraminidase
inhibitors (LANIs), which allow for a once-weekly or single inhaled dose, as
compared to five-day, twice-daily dosing associated with first generation
inhaled or oral neuraminidase inhibitors. The Company and Daiichi Sankyo Inc.
have cross-licensed the world-wide rights to develop and commercialize LANIs,
including laninamivir octanoate, which is marketed by Daiichi Sankyo Inc. as
Inavir^® in Japan.

The Company currently has two Phase 2 clinical-stage product candidates;
laninamivir octanoate, which it is developing under an existing contract from
BARDA to provide up to $231 million in financial support to complete the
clinical development of laninamivir octanoate for the treatment of influenza A
and B infections in the U.S. market; and vapendavir, a potent, oral
broad-spectrum capsid inhibitor of HRV in development for the reduction of
exacerbations in patients with asthma or COPD. In addition to these
clinical-stage programs, the Company has preclinical programs focused on
developing treatments for RSV as well as gram-negative and multi-drug
resistant bacterial infections. For additional information about the Company,
please visit www.biotapharma.com.

Safe Harbor Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of
the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that involve known and
unknown risks and uncertainties. All statements, other than historical facts,
including statements regarding the Company's plans to: continue to fully
support and advance the clinical development of laninamivir octanoate,
including the anticipated initiation of a Phase 2 clinical trial in the second
quarter of 2013; the plan to shift the Company's focus from early-stage
research to clinical-stage development programs, including rationalizing the
number of preclinical programs the Company plans to support and the
anticipated therapeutic focus of those programs; pursue in-licensing,
acquisition, co-development or other similar collaboration opportunities to
better balance its pipeline with clinical-stage development programs; the
timing and plans to complete clinical and regulatory evaluations and make a
determination on whether to independently advance the clinical development of
vapendavir; conclude ongoing activities related to its preclinical
gram-positive antibiotic and hepatitis C non-nucleoside polymerase inhibitor
programs and continue to seek to out-license these programs; conserve capital
by reducing the Company's cost structure, and the estimated amount of these
savings; and the estimated cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments
on hand at June 30, 2014 are forward looking statements. Various important
factors could cause actual results, performance, events or achievements to
materially differ from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking
statements, including: BARDA not terminating or significantly amending the
Company's existing contract to develop laninamivir octanoate for the U.S.
market; the Company, BARDA, the FDA, a data safety monitoring board, or an
institutional review board, delaying, limiting, suspending or terminating the
clinical development of laninamivir octanoate at any time for a lack of
safety, tolerability, anti-viral activity, commercial viability, regulatory or
manufacturing issues, or any other reason whatsoever; the Company's ability to
comply with extensive government regulations in various countries and regions
in which it expects to conduct its clinical trials; the Company's ability to
secure, manage and retain qualified third-party clinical research, preclinical
research, data management and contract manufacturing organizations upon which
it relies on to assist in the design, development and implementation of the
clinical development of its product candidates, including laninamivir
octanoate; the Company's ability to identify, compete for and obtain
additional clinical-stage development programs through licensing, acquisition,
collaboration agreements or other similar opportunities; royalty revenues the
Company receives in fiscal 2014 not materially decreasing from current levels;
future changes in the Company's strategy and the implementation of those
changes; the Company's ability to successfully manage its expenses, operating
results and financial position in line with its plans and expectations; and
other cautionary statements contained elsewhere in this press release or in
its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended December 31,
2012, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission;

There may be events in the future that the Company is unable to predict, or
over which it has no control, and the Company's business, financial condition,
results of operations and prospects may change in the future. The Company may
not update these forward-looking statements more frequently than quarterly,
unless it has an obligation under U.S. Federal securities laws to do so.

Biotais a registered trademark of Biota Holdings Limited. Relenza^TM is a
trademark of GlaxoSmithKline plc, and Inavir^® is a registered trademark of
Daiichi Sankyo Company, Ltd.

CONTACT: Russell H. Plumb
         Chief Executive Officer
         (678) 762-3240
         r.plumb@biotapharma.com
        
         Hershel Berry
         Blueprint Life Science Group
         (415) 375-3340
         hberry@bplifescience.com
        
         Tim Duncan
         Hintons
         +61 408 441 122
         tduncan@hintons.com.au

Biota Pharmaceuticals, Inc
 
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