Kanebo Ltd. of Japan has obtained an exclusive license fromProtein Design Labs Inc. to market SMART M195 humanizedmonoclonal antibody in Asia, the companies announced onMonday.

M195 is a therapeutic product that attaches to myeloidleukemia cells and can be used with or without radioisotopes.PDL (NASDAQ:PDLI) plans to begin clinical trials of M195 as atherapy for myeloid leukemia this year, according to itspresident, Laurence Korn. The disease afflicts 15,000 patients ayear in the United States, according to PDL. Kanebo estimatesthat 10,000 patients are diagnosed annually in Japan.

PDL uses computer modeling to develop its SMART antibodies,which combine parts of human antibodies with binding sitesfrom mouse antibodies. According to Korn, the combination willoffer greater therapeutic benefits than mouse antibodies bybeing less immunogenic when used to treat humans.

Kanebo paid an up-front fee and will fund research, makemilestone payments and pay royalties on any sales. Detailswere not disclosed.

PDL said it intends to license Asian rights to its products whileretaining U.S. and European rights. The company's shares wereup 50 cents at $12.63 on Monday.

-- Holly Ganz Special to BioWorld

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