Japan-US Business Report LogoJapan-U.S. Business Report

No. 343, April 1998

Issue Index

American Companies in Japan


CHEMICALS

DUPONT DOW ELASTOMERS L.L.C. has added ASAHI CHEMICAL INDUSTRY CO., LTD. as an INSITE licensee. This DOW CHEMICAL CO.-developed technology is a constrained-geometry, single-site olefin polymerization catalyst. It is said to provide superior polymer design flexibility compared with other metallocene catalyst technologies because better control has been gained over the molecular architecture. In fact, polymers can be computer- modeled before they are produced. Asahi Chemical will use the INSITE technology at its high-density polyethylene plant in Kurashiki, Okayama prefecture. Following test-marketing of INSITE-produced HDPE later this year, the company will launch volume production in 1999.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare has approved for marketing Viracept (nelfinavir mesylate), an HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) protease inhibitor codeveloped by La Jolla, California-based AGOURON PHARMACEUTICALS, INC. and the pharmaceutical division of JAPAN TOBACCO INC. JTI is responsible for marketing Viracept, with YOSHITOMI PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES, LTD. handling sales in Tokyo, Osaka and other major metropolitan areas and the Hoffman-La Roche unit of ROCHE HOLDING AG elsewhere in the country. Agouron and JTI do not expect Viracept to be profitable in Japan because of the limited number of HIV- infected people. They are counting on big sales in the United States, where the HIV protease inhibitor was cleared for sale in March 1997, and in Europe.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.
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