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Sunesis Pharmaceuticals Appoints William L. Schary, Ph.D., Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance

09/26/06

Robert McDowell, Ph.D., Promoted to Vice President, Research

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Sept 26, 2006 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ -- Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: SNSS) today announced the appointment of William L. Schary, Ph.D., to the position of Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance. Dr. Schary joins Sunesis with more than 27 years professional experience in pharmaceutical product development, regulatory affairs, compliance and quality assurance.

Dr. Schary's career spans various roles in regulatory affairs and quality assurance for numerous pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Schary has successfully filed more than 20 registration dossiers in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Asia. He joins Sunesis from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, where from 2003 to present he held the position of Vice President, Regulatory Affairs. While there, he was responsible for U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) interactions, participated in strategic product planning and implemented quality control systems. Prior to Valeant, Dr. Schary held regulatory and quality positions at Cellegy Pharmaceuticals, Aronex Pharmaceuticals, Takeda Pharmaceuticals and CoCensys. He began his career as a reviewer with the Division of Biopharmaceutics, U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"I am very pleased to welcome Bill to the Sunesis team. His extensive background in working with the FDA and with worldwide regulatory bodies, as well as his strong technical background in quality assurance, will be invaluable as we advance our lead programs into late-stage clinical development over the next year or two," said Daniel Adelman, M.D., Senior Vice President of Research and Development.

The company also announced that Robert McDowell, Ph.D., who has been serving as the company's Vice President, Chemistry since 2002, has been promoted to the newly-created position, Vice President, Research, leading all early-stage drug discovery and preclinical development efforts.

Dr. Adelman continued, "Bob McDowell has demonstrated excellent leadership during his tenure with Sunesis. As Vice President, Research, Bob will play an even greater role in leading all the non-clinical research efforts at Sunesis, steering our discovery strategy and informing our clinical development strategies as part of Sunesis' multidisciplinary approach to successful drug development."

Option Award Disclosure

The Compensation Committee of the company's Board of Directors approved an employment commencement grant to Dr. Schary of a non-qualified stock option to purchase 60,000 shares of Sunesis common stock, effective September 29, 2006. This option award was granted without shareholder approval pursuant to Nasdaq Marketplace Rule 4350 (i)(1)(A)(iv) and with the following material terms: (a) an exercise price equal to the fair market value of the company's common stock on the grant date, (b) a term of ten years, and (c) a vesting schedule providing that the option is exercisable as to one-quarter of the total grant on the first anniversary of Dr. Schary's hire, and one-forty-eighth of the total grant each month thereafter until each grant is fully vested.

About Sunesis Pharmaceuticals

Sunesis is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel small molecule therapeutics for oncology and other serious diseases. Sunesis has built a broad product candidate portfolio through internal discovery and in-licensing of novel cancer therapeutics. Sunesis is advancing its product candidates through in-house research and development efforts and strategic collaborations with leading pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies. For additional information on Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, please visit http://www.sunesis.com .

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release may contain forward-looking statements that involve substantial risks and uncertainties. Sunesis may not actually achieve the plans, intentions or expectations contained in such forward-looking statements. Actual results or events could differ materially from the plans, intentions and expectations contained in such forward-looking statements. Sunesis does not assume any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements.

SOURCE Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

investors, Eric Bjerkholt, CFO, Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., +1-650-266-3717; or
media, Karen L. Bergman, +1-650-575-1509, or Michelle Corral, +1-415-794-8662, both
of BCC Partners, for Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
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