Connective Therapeutics Inc. has extended a licensing agreement withGenentech Inc. to include all indications of the latter's Relaxin, anatural hormone being developed to regulate collagen production.The extension of a 1993 agreement between the two companies givesConnective Therapeutics, of Palo Alto, Calif., rights to Relaxin fortreatment of collagen remodeling in pregnant women and otherconnective tissue problems, such as scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis,psoriasis, periodontal disease, ulcers, scars, poor wound healing andfibrotic disorders.Details of the agreement were not available. Connective Therapeuticshas responsibility for developing Relaxin through clinical trials andmarketing rights worldwide except in Japan, China and Korea. SouthSan Francisco-based Genentech retains certain rights to develop andmarket the drug in the reproductive field after successful completion ofPhase II clinical trials.Lynda Wijick, Connective Therapeutics' vice president of corporatedevelopment, said the first clinical trials of Relaxin are scheduled tobegin this year for treatment of scleroderma. The disease, characterizedby excessive collagen production, causes hardening of the skin andinternal organs and results include disfigurement and organ failure.Relaxin, first discovered 70 years ago, is used to reduce production ofcollagen.According to Connective Therapeutics, an estimated 150,000 peopleare afflicted with severe systemic scleroderma in the U.S.Connective Therapeutics is a privately-held company formed in 1993to develop drugs for connective tissue disorders. _ Charles Craig
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