BELLUS Health signs agreement to acquire Innodia

    LAVAL, QC, July 16 /CNW Telbec/ - BELLUS Health Inc. (NASDAQ:   BLUS; TSX:
BLU, formerly known as Neurochem Inc.) announced today that it has signed a
definitive agreement to purchase capital stock of Innodia Inc. This will
result in the BELLUS Health Group owning 100% of the capital stock, thereby
acquiring all of the business of Innodia including the intellectual property
assets related to its diabetes and obesity projects. BELLUS Health has also
effectively regained the rights to a diabetes project and certain compounds
previously licensed by it to Innodia and, as a result, now holds the exclusive
rights to BELLUS Health's diabetes platform and all related compounds. Innodia
Inc. is a private company engaged in developing compounds for the treatment of
diabetes, obesity and related metabolic conditions and diseases.
    The purchase price, in the amount of approximately $1.3 million including
the purchase of the outstanding debt from Investissement Québec, will be paid
by the issuance from treasury of BELLUS Health common shares. Additional
consideration consisting either in treasury shares or cash, at the option of
BELLUS Health, is conditionally payable on the first anniversary of the
closing of the transaction, contingent upon the determination of the value of
certain assets at that time. The total purchase price is expected to
approximate the net assets of Innodia. Innodia has secured credit facilities
available of approximately $3 million and tax losses of more than $25 million.
The Toronto Stock Exchange has issued an approval letter in respect of the
transaction subject to customary conditions. A significant number of the
shares to be issued will be subject to a hold period under applicable
securities legislation.
    "BELLUS Health's acquisition of Innodia is a timely opportunity because
it allows the Company to gain access to Innodia's expertise and rights in
diabetes and obesity at an attractive price and will help accelerate our own
projects in diabetes and expand our pipeline through Innodia's identified
candidate leads," said Dr. Francesco Bellini, Chairman, President and CEO of
BELLUS Health. "Several members of the Innodia research team will share their
know-how in diabetes and metabolic syndrome, thereby reinforcing the existing
expertise of the BELLUS Health Group and prove useful to further advance the
related programs," Dr. Bellini concluded.

    NC-503: Phase II Proof-of-Concept Clinical Trial in Diabetes Ongoing

    BELLUS Health announced early in 2008 that it was studying NC-503 for the
treatment of Type II diabetes and certain features of metabolic syndrome.
Results from animal studies using a rat model of diabetes and metabolic
syndrome have shown that NC-503 decreases the glycemic levels in obese
diabetic, Zucker rats, when compared to the control group, preserves 40% more
pancreatic islet cells secreting insulin than in the control group and
protects kidney function.
    This program has now advanced into a Phase II clinical trial in diabetic
patients in Canada. The study is a 26-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled,
randomized study. Interim results are expected in late 2008 or early 2009. The
first patient for this study was enrolled in the spring of 2008.

    About BELLUS Health

    BELLUS Health is a global health company focused on the development and
commercialization of products to provide innovative health solutions to
address critical unmet medical needs.

    To Contact BELLUS Health

    For additional information on BELLUS Health and its programs, please call
the Canada and United States toll-free number 1-877-680-4500 or visit the Web
Site at

    Certain statements contained in this news release, other than statements
of fact that are independently verifiable at the date hereof, may constitute
forward-looking statements. Such statements, based as they are on the current
expectations of management, inherently involve numerous risks and
uncertainties, known and unknown, many of which are beyond BELLUS Health
Inc.'s (formerly known as Neurochem Inc.) control. Such risks include but are
not limited to: the impact of general economic conditions, general conditions
in the pharmaceutical and/or nutraceutical industry, changes in the regulatory
environment in the jurisdictions in which the BELLUS Health Group does
business, stock market volatility, fluctuations in costs, and changes to the
competitive environment due to consolidation, that actual results may vary
once the final and quality-controlled verification of data and analyses has
been completed, as well as other risks disclosed in public filings of BELLUS
Health Inc. Consequently, actual future results may differ materially from the
anticipated results expressed in the forward-looking statements. The reader
should not place undue reliance, if any, on any forward-looking statements
included in this news release. These statements speak only as of the date made
and BELLUS Health Inc. is under no obligation and disavows any intention to
update or revise such statements as a result of any event, circumstances or
otherwise, unless required by applicable legislation or regulation. Please see
the Annual Information Form of BELLUS Health Inc. for further risk factors
that might affect the BELLUS Health Group and its business.

For further information:

For further information: Lise Hébert, Ph.D., Vice President, Corporate
Communications, (450) 680-4570,

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