SAN DIEGO -- Tanabe Research Laboratories USA (TRL) wasformally inaugurated here Thursday as the U.S.-based researchunit of Tanabe Seiyaku Co. Ltd. of Osaka, Japan.

TRL, which Tanabe Seiyaku bought last month fromImmunetech Pharmaceuticals of San Diego for an undisclosedamount, will continue to work on products to treat asthma,allergies and rheumatoid arthritis.

TRL expects to have a compound for asthma ready for clinicaltrials in a year, said Gerald Yakatan, TRL's president.

By backing one of a few Japanese-owned, U.S.-based researchlabs, "Tanabe recognized that there's a different approach todrug discovery between Japan and the U.S.," Yakatan said. Headded that Tanabe bought the lab to take advantage of"America's creativity and innovativeness, and itsentrepreneurial attitude."

TRL plans to expand within the year a 21-member staff to 30employees. Tanabe Seiyaku invested $7.6 million inImmunetech in 1988, acquiring a 10 percent equity stake.

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