National Editor

Genzyme Corp. signed a development and marketing deal with Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals Inc. for RDP58, the drug to treat inflammatory bowel disease acquired last year in Genzyme's $600 million buyout of SangStat Medical Corp.

"From our perspective, P&G is really the ideal partner," Genzyme spokesman Dan Quinn said. "We had said all along we were looking to find a partner specialized in this area of medicine."

Under the terms, Genzyme gets $10 million up front from P&G, plus milestone payments and royalties, in exchange for a worldwide license to develop, manufacture, and commercialize RDP58, an inhibitor of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interferon-gamma, interleukin-12 and IL-2, which has been tested in two Phase II studies.

About a year ago, positive data were disclosed from a trial against ulcerative colitis, but the news was negative in Crohn's disease, where no statistically significant response was achieved. The outcome did not surprise researchers, SangStat said, since the drug is not absorbed systemically and therefore is likely to be more effective for a mucosal disorder such as colitis - and that's the indication on which P&G, an affiliate of Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co., will focus first. (See BioWorld Today, April 10, 2003.)

P&G already markets delayed-release Asacol (mesalamine), the leading therapy for the treatment of mild to moderate ulcerative colitis and maintenance of remission. RDP58 also would be orally administered.

Genzyme acquired the drug in the September 2003 buyout of SangStat, of Fremont, Calif., for $600 million and said at the time a partner would be sought, since the drug falls outside Genzyme's main focus areas. SangStat had already begun talking with would-be partners, Quinn said. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 5, 2003.)

He called RDP58 "an important part" of the SangStat takeover, which was undertaken to get Genzyme more involved in immune-mediated diseases and to gain the pipeline.

"We are retaining some rights to develop or co-market [RDP58] in areas where we are planning to increase our commercial presence, particularly in oncology," Quinn told BioWorld Today. The drug has shown potential in treating chemotherapy-induced diarrhea, he said.

Genzyme's push in cancer has been shown in two big ways recently, with the $1 billion proposed buyout of San Antonio-based ILEX Oncology Inc. and the $215 million proposed acquisition of the oncology testing unit of Impath Inc., of New York, both disclosed earlier this year. (See BioWorld Today, March 1, 2004, and March 2, 2004.)

Genzyme's stock (NASDAQ:GENZ) closed Thursday at $47.33, up 55 cents.