Genetics Institute Inc. (GI) said Thursday it licensed Japanesedevelopment and marketing rights for its recombinant humaninterleukin 11 (rhIL-11) to GI-Yamanouchi Inc. of Japan.

The GI-Yamanouchi partnership, formed in 1990, is equallyowned by GI and Yamanouchi.

"By licensing the compound in Japan, GI is able to keep somevoice on how its development is done there," said GIspokesman Dennis Harp

Harp said licensing agreements such as this, as well as GI'sagreement with European marketing partner Schering-Ploughfor rhIL-11, help coordinate the product globally.

RhIL-11 is a naturally occurring human protein, normallypresent in the body in very small quantities, that is believed toplay an important role in the formation and maturation ofcertain types of blood cells.

"We feel that rhIL-11 is unique in its ability to stimulateplatelet and neutrophil recovery in preclinical models thatmimic high-dose chemotherapy," said Patrick Gage, GI'sexecutive vice president.

GI of Cambridge, Mass., said there is currently no product onthe market that stimulates the production and maturation ofplatelets. The company said rhIL-11 may decrease the need forplatelet transfusions and decrease the incidence of infection forpatients undergoing cancer chemotherapy or suffering fromlow platelet or neutrophil counts.

U.S. human clinical studies with the compound are under way,and the GI-Yamanouchi partnership plans to begin Japaneseclinicals of rhIL-11 in 1993. Harp would not disclose theindication being tested for in the studies.

GI's stock (NASDAQ:GENIZ) was up $2.13 a share on Thursdayto $30.

-- Michelle Slade Associate Editor

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