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No. 358, July 1999

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American Companies in Japan


CHEMICALS

Five years after forming DUPONT TEIJIN ADVANCED PAPERS JAPAN LTD. to develop, make and market aramid papers for electrical insulation in industrial equipment, equal partners E.I. DUPONT DE NEMOURS & CO., INC. and TEIJIN LTD. have extended the operation to include specialty papers used for electronic circuit substrates. The joint venture has found that aramid substrates are increasingly attractive alternatives to glass and resin-coated foils in electronics applications requiring greater circuit density and system reliability, such as mobile phones. DuPont Teijin Advanced Papers will market the aramid papers directly in Japan. Another joint venture will handle sales elsewhere in Asia, while the Richmond, Virginia DuPont Advanced Fibers Systems unit will be in charge of sales in other parts of the world. Annual sales of the new product are projected at roughly $8.3 million after about two years.

RESEARCH FRONTIERS INC. awarded DAINIPPON INK AND CHEMICALS, INC. nonexclusive worldwide rights to make emulsions that the Woodbury, New York company and its licensees will use to manufacture light-controlling film. Research Frontiers' SPD (suspended particle device) film allows users to electrically control the passage of light through windows, sunroofs, sunvisors, mirrors and eyewear. It also enables brighter, easier-to-read flat panel displays. The emulsions to be produced by DIC, the world's top maker of organic pigments, consist of liquid matrix polymers and Research Frontiers-developed liquid suspensions of light-absorbing particles.

In its first such agreement in Japan, AFFYMETRIX, INC. licensed TAKEDA CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES, LTD. on a nonexclusive basis to make and use nonlight-directed nucleic acid arrays for gene expression monitoring. The big pharmaceutical company will pay an undisclosed fee and annual royalties to the Santa Clara, California developer of the GeneChip system. Consisting of disposable DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) probe arrays containing gene sequences on a chip, reagents, a scanner and other instruments, and software, the GeneChip system is designed to acquire, analyze and manage complex genetic information in order to improve the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of diseases.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare approved and set a reimbursement rate for METRA BIOSYSTEMS, INC.'s Osteolinks-BAP, a serum bone turnover test based on the Mountain View, California company's Alkphase-B technology. SUMITOMO PHARMACEUTICALS CO., LTD. was Metra's development partner on this product and also will be in charge of marketing. In Japan, Osteolinks-BAP is indicated for help in diagnosing metastatic cancer and for managing bone disease in patients with chronic renal failure who are on dialysis and for people with primary hyperparathyroidism. It also is approved for Paget's disease.

MHW gave orphan drug status to Agrylin, a platelet-reducing therapy developed by ROBERTS PHARMACEUTICAL CORP. of Eatontown, New Jersey. That designation triggers a number of incentives for the drug's development in Japan. In the United States, Agrylin was cleared for sale in 1997 as the only drug indicated for the treatment of essential thrombocythemia, a condition characterized by excessively high levels of blood platelet cells. People with this condition are at risk for thrombosis (blood-clotting), with corresponding risk for heart attack and stroke. Subsequently, Agrylin was approved for myeloproliferative disorders.

Humatrope, ELI LILLY AND CO.'s human growth hormone, has been approved as a treatment for a third developmental growth disorder — chondrodysplasia, a problem affecting some 1,000 people in Japan. Humatrope has been available locally since 1989 and has won Lilly's subsidiary more than 20 percent of the market for growth hormones.

After announcing earlier this year that it was tying up with CHUGAI PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. in order to expedite the introduction of new prescription drugs in Japan (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 355, April 1999, p. 13), ELI LILLY AND CO. released more details about its near-term product priorities. By yearend, its Kobe subsidiary expects to apply for MHW approval of Zyprexa (olanzapine), with the goal of having this treatment for schizophrenia on the market within two years. Evista (raloxifene HCI), a Lilly osteoporosis drug for postmenopausal women that will be handled through the alliance with Chugai Pharmaceutical, is on the same schedule.

In an ironic partnership, CORIXA CORP., which has developed novel lung cancer antigens, gave the pharmaceutical division of JAPAN TOBACCO INC. exclusive rights to commercialize vaccine and antibody-based products aimed at treating lung cancer and potentially other solid tumors. These rights extend mainly to Japan and North America. Corixa calculates that it could receive more than $40 million in license fees, research funding and milestone payments over the life of the multiyear collaboration, plus royalties on sales by JT or its partners. A significant portion of these payments is guaranteed. Corixa specializes in applying its microsphere delivery system and adjuvant technologies to the formulation of antigens.

With Japan finally ready to lift the ban on the sale of oral contraceptives, American and European makers of birth control pills are starting to map out their marketing strategies. They are moving cautiously, though, because experts are uncertain about the demand for the pill, especially at the start. Marketing tie-ups with Japanese drug companies seem to be the norm because the local sales staffs of most foreign manufacturers do not have strong links to gynecologists. For instance, MONSANTO CO.'s subsidiary will work with TSUMURA & CO., while JANSSEN-KYOWA CO., LTD. — a partnership between JOHNSON & JOHNSON and KYOWA HAKKO KOGYO CO., LTD. — is in talks with MOCHIDA PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD.

An exchange rate of ¥121=$1.00 was used in this report. aaaaaa

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