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No. 364, January 2000

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American Companies in Japan


CHEMICALS

As soon as 2001, ABBOTT LABORATORIES and Japan development partner TAISHO PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. could have on the market an antibiotic that shows promise of being effective against respiratory-track infections that do not respond to penicillin and macrolide-based treatments. Abbott Labs' ABT-773 ketolide antibiotic currently is in Phase II trials in the United States. Phase III clinical development will start sometime in 2000. Ketolides are new, semisynthetic derivatives of erythromycin A, an anti- infective that Abbott Labs helped to pioneer. DAINABOT CO., LTD., the U.S. company's subsidiary, will work with Taisho Pharmaceutical on the commercialization of ABT-773. Both will handle marketing of the drug once it is cleared for sale by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

Bufferin, the aspirin product that BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB CO. licensed to LION CORP. for sale in Japan, soon could be in a tough fight to remain the top-selling over-the- counter painkiller. JOHNSON & JOHNSON has granted TAKEDA CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES, LTD. the right to market Tylenol, the world's most widely used nonprescription painkiller. Japan's top drug manufacturer expects to launch Tylenol sales for both adults and children in FY 2000 and to build it into the number-one painkiller within five years. Takeda Chemical's own such product, Grelan, produces sales of only between $970,900 and $1.9 million a year.

The first participant in the Kobe city government's Medical Industry City Project is the subsidiary of QUINTILES TRANSNATIONAL CORP., a major provider of contract pharmaceutical services (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 363, December 1999, p. 40). The Tokyo unit moved its treatment and test coordination business from Osaka to Kobe, apparently attracted by the city's offer of subsidized office rents and lower local taxes. As the program's name suggests, the Medical Industry City Project is an attempt by Kobe to develop the city into a medical technology center.

An exchange rate of ¥103=$1.00 was used in this report. aaaaa

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