Alpha 1 Biomedicals Inc. said its Asian licensee, SciClonePharmaceuticals Inc., has formed a joint venture company tolaunch a Phase III clinical trial of Thymosin alpha 1 to treatchronic hepatitis B.

SciClone owns 50 percent of the new company. Singapore Bio-Innovations Pte. Ltd., an entity of the Singapore governmentthat was founded to commercialize biomedical research, owns30 percent, and Transpac Capital Pte. Ltd., a Singapore-basedprivate venture capital company, owns 20 percent.

The trial, at the National Hospital of Singapore, is expected tobegin in the first half of next year.

Alpha 1 (NASDAQ:ALBM) of Washington, D.C., is conductingmulticenter Phase III trials of Thymosin in the United States.

If Thymosin wins marketing approval, the joint venture willhave exclusive rights to the drug in eight countries in Asia. Ofthe 150 million people who are chronically infected withhepatitis B worldwide, about half live in the countries includedin the agreement.

Alpha 1 will receive license fees, royalties, a percentage ofSciClone's operating profits and will be the sole supplier ofThymosin alpha 1 to SciClone.

Alpha 1 shares fell 75 cents to $12.75 on Wednesday.

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