The Upjohn Co. has entered into an exclusive licensingagreement to use MacroChem Corp.'s Sepa transdermalpenetration-enhancing agent with Upjohn's minoxidiltreatment for hair growth.

Under the agreement, announced Wednesday by MacroChem,Upjohn has exclusive worldwide marketing rights for Sepawith minoxidil, plus options to use Sepa with two undisclosedproducts. Upjohn markets its minoxidil under the trade nameRogaine.

MacroChem of Billerica, Mass., received an up-front license feeand will receive milestone payments. Royalties will be paid toMacroChem on sales by Upjohn.

Worldwide minoxidil sales by Upjohn and others are $300million annually, said Alvin Karloff, president and chiefexecutive officer at MacroChem.

Upjohn of Kalamazoo, Mich., will be responsible for clinicaldevelopment and registrations. Upjohn has completed Phase Itrials and is beginning Phase II trials, Karloff said.

Sepas (soft enhancement percutaneous absorption),MacroChem's lead technology, are a novel class of enhancersthat accelerate the passage of drugs and other compoundsthrough the skin and other biomembranes. Sepas work byaltering the lipid layers of the skin. By varying the formulationof the Sepa, MacroChem can control the degree and the depth ofabsorption, Karloff said.

MacroChem filed in 1988 for a U.S. patent on sepa compoundsfor use in enhancing transdermal delivery of minoxidil. Apatent hasn't issued yet. Upjohn received FDA approval in 1988to market minoxidil for treatment of male pattern baldness.

-- Karen Bernstein BioWorld Staff

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