OsteoArthritis Sciences Inc. has signed a five-year agreement withKaken Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, to jointly develop inhibitorsfor enzymes associated with the degradation of cartilage inosteoarthritis.Richard Holbrook, OsteoArthritis Sciences' vice president and chieffinancial officer, said the company has been evaluating novel enzymesit discovered that are not matrix metaloprotease (MMP) enzymes butmay also contribute to destruction of cartilage. He said his company isnow characterizing these enzymes and testing inhibitors for them.Holbrook said Kaken will collaborate in the research, development andmarketing of inhibitors of these or other new enzymes. "We will followa rational drug design approach, and we will take advantage of Kaken'slibrary of chemical compounds to develop inhibitors of theseenzymes," Holbrook said.Holbrook said Kaken has a strong research effort in osteoarthritis andother musculoskeletal diseases. He said Kaken had revenues of $623million in 1993 and expects revenues of $800 million for 1994. Over athree-year period, Kaken's U.S. subsidiary, Sunrise Ventures Inc., willpurchase equity in OsteoArthritis Sciences, building up to a 5 percentstake. "The dollar amount will be significant," Holbrook said.Kaken will license exclusive development, manufacturing andmarketing rights in Asia on discoveries made by Cambridge, Mass.-based OsteoArthritis Sciences in exchange for royalty payments.OsteoArthritis Sciences will receive co-development, manufacturingand marketing rights in the U.S. for Kaken's discoveries and willreceive royalties on sales of these compounds outside the U.S. _Philippa Maister

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