Connective Therapeutics Inc. acquired exclusive worldwide rights toXoma Corp.'s T-cell receptor (TCR) peptide technology, thecompanies announced Tuesday.Xoma, of Berkeley, Calif., will receive an undisclosed promissory note,milestone payments, royalties on product sales and warrants for futurepurchase of stock from the privately-held Menlo Park, Calif., company.The TCR technology program involves development and testing ofpeptides derived from T-cell receptors, which elicit an immuneresponse that selectively interferes with the response of pathogenic Tlymphocytes in certain autoimmune diseases.The TCR peptide program immediately becomes Connective's secondproduct candidate. Lynda Wijcik, Connective's vice president,corporate development, told BioWorld the company expects to put theimmune therapy into clinical trials next year, with a first indicationbeing rheumatoid arthritis. Future indications include psoriatic arthritis,juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.Connective's lead candidate, Relaxin, was licensed from South SanFrancisco-based Genentech Inc., one of Connective's stockholders.Relaxin is a natural hormone that regulates collagen remodeling. Thecompany plans to file an investigational new drug application thissummer for Relaxin to treat scleroderma, Wijcik said.She said Connective already had licensed TCR patents for rheumatoidarthritis from Genentech, and the acquisition from Xoma extends andcomplements those already held. One of the company's founders,Edward Amento, had worked for Genentech on TCR for thatindication, Wijcik said.John Castello, chairman, president and CEO of Xoma, said, "TCRtechnology offers considerable potential, but does not fit with Xoma'sstrategic area of focus." _ Jim Shrine

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