Tularik Inc. on Thursday announced that it is collaboratingwith Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. on research forregulating genes involved in inflammation. The terms of thedeal were not disclosed.

Privately held Tularik of South San Francisco, Calif., will gainaccess to Yamanouchi's screening library and medicinalchemistry capabilities. Tularik is focused solely on identifyingand developing a new class of small molecule drugs thatmodulate the activity of transcription factors -- proteins in thecell nucleus that singly or in combination activate or inactivategenes.

Founded in 1991, Tularik has raised more than $31 million inthree rounds of venture financing, which the company saidshould carry it through the next two to three years. GenentechInc. (NYSE:GNE) has a minority interest in the company, andGenentech's director of molecular biology, David Goeddel, is oneof the founders of Tularik.

Tularik is targeting its transcription factor research to threebasic areas: endothelial cell research, including inflammation;viral disease, including herpes simplex and cytomegalovirus;and hypercholesterolemia.

In addition, Yamanouchi has an inflammation program and adrug that blocks the inflammatory action of platelet activatingfactor (PAF) in Phase II testing for treatment of asthma. TheTokyo company also has a 5HT antagonist in Phase II trials fortreatment of irritable bowel syndrome.

Yamanouchi also has agreements with several otherbiotechnology companies, including T Cell Sciences Inc.,Genetics Institute Inc., Alteon Inc. and Protein Design Labs Inc.

Yamanouchi is a member of a group of investors that acquireda 16 percent equity position in T Cell Sciences. It also has co-marketing rights to T Cell's soluble CR1, under development forreduction of tissue injury.

Yamanouchi formed a joint venture with GI in 1990 to developrecombinant human interleukin 11 (rhIL-11), which isbelieved to play a role in the formation and maturation ofblood cells.

-- Brenda Sandburg News Editor

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