Vestar Inc. has signed an agreement with Fujisawa USA Inc.dissolving their joint venture to develop AmBisome, Vestar'sintravenous liposomal formulation of amphotericin B.

Amphotericin B is a broad-spectrum, anti-infective agent usedto treat systemic fungal infections. Such infections commonlyoccur in cancer patients treated with chemotherapy, organ andbone marrow transplant recipients, and AIDS patients.

Vestar said Monday that under the terms of the new agreement,all rights and assets to AmBisome are assigned to Vestar.Fujisawa of Deerfield, Ill., will have marketing rights forAmBisome in the United States, Canada and Asia. Vestar hasmarketing rights for the rest of the world and solemanufacturing rights.

Vestar will supply AmBisome to Fujisawa on a cost-plusbasis, said Michael Hart, Vestar's chief financial officer.Fujisawa will not pay additional royalties on sales.

The agreement replaces a 1987 agreement originally signedbetween Vestar and Lyphomed Inc., which was acquired byFujisawa in 1989. Under that agreement, both companies wereto manufacture AmBisome and each would pay royalties onsales to the other.

"It became clear early on we were moving quicker in Europethan Lyphomed was moving in the U.S.," said Hart. "This wasexacerbated by Lyphomed's purchase by Fujisawa, asintegrating the merger took awhile. The problem was that wewere moving along in Europe and accruing potential liability interms of cross-royalty payments."

AmBisome was approved for sale in Ireland in December.Vestar said it hopes to get approval in either the UnitedKingdom or Germany by the end of this year. Fujisawa, which isa subsidiary of Fujisawa Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. of Japan,hasn't yet begun preclinical development in the United States.

Vestar stock (NASDAQ:VSTR) closed up $1 on Monday at $8.50. -- Karen Bernstein

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