Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s stock gained 3 percent Thursdayafter the company said it identified a genetic mutation involved in theonset of Type II diabetes, triggering a milestone payment fromcorporate partner, Roche Holding Ltd.
Millennium and Roche officials declined to comment on specifics ofthe gene or the amount of the milestone payment. Details about thegene's role in Type II diabetes will be described when the discoveryis published in a scientific journal, the officials said.
In March 1994, Roche agreed to pay Millennium, a Cambridge,Mass.-based genomics firm, up to $70 million for genetic researchinto obesity and diabetes, leading to development of drugs for thosedisorders.
The most advanced program is in obesity. Roche is in the early stagesof developing a drug based on a Millennium discovered gene target.
In Type II diabetes, or non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, thebody does not metabolize glucose because of cellular resistance toinsulin or insufficient production of the hormone. Type 1 diabetes, orinsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, results from a lack of insulinsecreting beta cells.
Type II diabetes and obesity are polygenic diseases, involving theinteraction of many genetic components and are considered relateddisorders.
Millennium's stock (NASDAQ:MLMN) closed Thursday up $0.50 to$17.50. _ Charles Craig
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