SYNTEX JOINT VENTURE TO STUDY CHINESE MEDICINEThe Hong Kong Institute of Biotechnology (HKIB) and SyntexPharmaceuticals International Ltd. (SPIL) have signed anagreement to establish a 50-50 for-profit joint venture.

The new company, HKIB/Syntex Ltd., will establish a researchfacility in Hong Kong to screen synthetic and naturalcompounds for their potential as novel drugs. SPIL is asubsidiary of Syntex Corp. (NYSE:SYN) of Palo Alto, Calif.Funding for the program was not revealed.

The venture will seek to identify and develop activeingredients from medicinal plants and microbial broths that theChinese have used for thousands of years. Drug screening willfocus on cardiovascular disease, inflammatory diseases andcancer, Syntex's areas of interest.

Two research institutes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences willparticipate in the screening process.


Protein Design Labs Inc. said it has signed a development andlicense agreement with Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. ofTokyo. PDL will humanize a proprietary Yamanouchi mousemonoclonal antibody that is potentially useful to treatcardiovascular disease.

Privately held PDL of Mountain View, Calif., has received anundisclosed license fee and will receive milestone paymentsand royalties on product sales. This is PDL's first Japanesecorporate alliance.

Humanized antibodies, which are more than 90 percent human,are expected to cause fewer allergic responses and have alonger half-life and greater efficacy than mouse antibodies.

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