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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - January 6, 2000 - Ashni Naturaceuticals, Inc. has entered into an exclusive agreement with AstaCarotene AB (Gustavsberg, Sweden) to act as sole US distributor for AstaCaRx™; a natural astaxanthin human nutritional supplement.

AstaCaRx™; is a potent antioxidant made from the red micro-algae Haematococcus pluvialis. With up to 550 times the antioxidant activity of vitamin E and 10 times the antioxidant activity of beta-carotene, AstaCaRx™; could potentially capture a significant share of the over $800 million in annual North American antioxidant sales.

"Ashni is pleased to have the opportunity to develop this relationship with AstaCarotene. AstaCarotene produces and harvests high quality astaxanthin suitable for human consumption in sufficient quantities to accommodate a national marketing effort. Through controlled growth they’ve increased their production capacities significantly without compromising Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) or having to deal with the serious contaminations that appear to plague some competitors," says Dinesh C. Patel, Ph.D., Ashni Chairman, President and CEO.

Since 1995, AstaCarotene has been producing and selling astaxanthin supplements for human consumption primarily in Scandinavia and select European countries.

International patents have been granted to AstaCarotene for the use of astaxanthin for improving muscle strength endurance and for treating muscle dysfunction; for the treatment/prevention of Helicobacter pylori infections (ulcers); for increasing fertility; and as a dietary supplement. Patents are pending for a variety of other nutritional support products.

AstaCarotene has made a significant investment in clinical trials to study the beneficial effects of astaxanthin in humans. Clinical studies in humans have shown improved strength endurance and reduced gastric pain (heartburn) in dyspepsia patients.

"Ashni anticipates significant interest in AstaCaRx™; from several market segments," states Jill Turner, Ashni Vice President of Business Development. "With Ashni’s strong industry relationships in the pharmaceutical, nutritional/supplement retail segments we expect to encounter a healthy degree of interest for this product. Ashni and AstaCarotene will also develop new patent-protected product combinations."

"Our experience gained during half a decade of marketing and sales activities in the human dietary supplement markets in combination with the extensive pioneering research into the effects of AstaCaRx™; on human health and physical performance give us the platform needed for entering the US market with great confidence", says Johan Inborr, Ph.D., President and CEO of AstaCarotene AB. "In addition, Ashni Naturaceuticals, Inc. provides exciting possibilities for systematic market penetration and further product development."

AstaCarotene is a research-based biotech company specializing in the production and development of natural astaxanthin for use in human and animal health care and disease prevention. Production facilities and corporate offices are located in Gustavsberg, Sweden, the research lab in Uppsala, Sweden.

Ashni Naturaceuticals, Inc., with its corporate offices in Salt Lake City, Utah, specializes in the research, development and marketing of clinically tested and patent-protected naturaceutical products.

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