Advanced Polymer Systems Inc. on Monday said that it hasregained marketing rights to its ProZone sun protectionproduct, as well as financial considerations, from Rhone-Poulenc Rorer in a restructuring of a joint venture between thetwo companies.

In addition to returning worldwide marketing rights forprescription dermatology products to the Redwood City, Calif.,company, the deal gives APS $2 million in investment capitalfrom Rhone-Poulenc and ownership of a nearly completedmelanin manufacturing facility in Vacaville, Calif. Rhone-Poulenc also has forgiven a $1.5 million loan to APS.

In return, Rhone-Poulenc will receive 705,041 shares ofAdvanced Polymer Systems common stock (NASDAQ:APOS),giving it a 6.2 percent share of the company, and will receive aminority portion of the net profits of ProZone. The stock closedat $11.63, up 38 cents.

Rhone-Poulenc had invested about $4 million in thedevelopment program, which included ProZone, a sun screenlotion that uses APS's Microsponges. The technology providesuniform dispersal of melanin trapped in the polymer sponges.ProZone is in Phase III clinical trials.

The restructuring of the 1989 joint venture agreement "givesus control, again, of our ProZone technology and allowsAdvanced Polymer Systems to take control of its destiny," saidAPS spokeswoman Loretta Miller.

The original agreement gave APS the marketing rights forover-the-counter ProZone dermatology products and Rhone-Poulenc the rights to prescription products. But when finallyapproved for marketing, ProZone "will more likely be an over-the-counter product," Miller said.

The companies will continue to share marketing rights and payeach other reciprocal royalties for several Rhone-Poulencproducts that use the APS Microsponge delivery system,including a methotrexate product for treatment of psoriasis anda 5-fluorouracil product for treatment of pre-cancerous actinickeratoses, Miller said. Rhone-Poulenc will continue to fund thedevelopment of these products.

APS also announced that in exchange for 157,894 shares of itscommon stock, it has acquired the 25 percent minority interestin Advanced Premier Products, its over-the-counterdermatology products subsidiary. The wholly owned subsidiarywill be renamed Advanced Consumer Products. ACP ismarketing EveryStep, a shoe and foot deodorant.

"Following this agreement, we are planning to consolidate ourprescription dermatology rights in a new subsidiary calledAdvanced Dermatology Products," said John Meakem Jr.,president and chief executive officer.

-- Kris Herbst BioWorld Washington Bureau

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.