PARIS Flamel Technologies has signed a long-term agreement with Corning Inc. for the development and production of new materials derived from Flamel¿s research into polymers. The agreement effectively extends and broadens a research collaboration agreement concluded between the two companies in 1994 that was renewed on a year-to-year basis up to now. The new deal does not have a fixed term.

Flamel, based near Lyon in southeastern France, is developing a range of polymer-based materials for life science applications, and has patented two drug delivery systems (Micropump and Medusa) and an agrochemical delivery system (Agsome), as well as biomedical devices utilizing biomaterials (under the ColCys name) and photochromic materials for organic ophthalmic lenses. In the last area, Flamel has been collaborating with Corning for about five years.

The two companies have released no details about the terms of this agreement, apart from the fact that Flamel received an immediate payment of US$2 million. It will receive further research and development payments in the future, as well as royalties on the sale of Corning products incorporating materials developed by Flamel. Their collaboration has resulted in the development of a first generation of photochromic materials, and next they will embark on the development of a second generation.

The first product arising from this collaboration is due to be launched during the first quarter of this year, and will be manufactured by Flamel for marketing by Corning. In that regard, the two companies have signed an agreement in principle for the creation of a 50-50 joint venture for manufacturing these new materials. The joint production facilities will initially be located at Flamel¿s premises in France.

Flamel, which is already quoted on Nasdaq, is planning an introduction on Paris¿ Nouveau Marchi around the middle of this year. A final decision on that could be made following the conclusion of another collaboration agreement, possibly for the marketing of Genvir, Flamel¿s controlled-release formulation of acyclovir for the treatment of acute genital herpes. Results of Phase III clinical trials, released last November, confirmed the therapeutic effectiveness of Genvir, which uses Flamel¿s Micropump technology. Flamel said at the time that it intended to file the product for marketing approval in the European Union in the second half of 1999, and was negotiating licensing deals with pharmaceutical companies. n