The European Community's Committee for ProprietaryMedicinal Products (CPMP) has recommended approval ofSchering-Plough Corp.'s Intron A alpha interferon for treatingchronic active hepatitis C.

In EC countries, about 240,000 people annually become acutelyinfected with hepatitis C (non-A, non-B hepatitis). Of these,about 50 percent develop a chronic form. Three EC countries --Greece, Italy and Portugal -- have already approved Intron Afor hepatitis C.

Intron A received U.S. marketing approval for hepatitis C inFebruary. Intron A also has U.S. marketing approval fortreatment of hairy cell leukemia, venereal warts and Kaposi'ssarcoma.

In December, the CPMP recommended approval of Intron A forchronic hepatitis B, and it has been approved for this indicationin nine EC countries.

Schering (NYSE:SGP) of Madison, N.J., licensed Intron A fromBiogen Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., in the late 1970s. Schering hasmore than 50 percent of the $500 million worldwide marketfor alpha interferon, said James Vincent, chairman and chiefexecutive of Biogen. Biogen (NASDAQ:BGEN) receives royaltiesof between 10 percent and 20 percent on Schering's Intron Asales.

-- Karen Bernstein BioWorld Staff

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