April 15, 1999
Agreement Reached with Cortech, Inc., of the United States, to Acquire Worldwide Development and Marketing Rights to Oral Elastase Inhibitor
Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. has reached a basic agreement with Cortech,
Inc. (Denver, Colorado), a U.S. biopharmaceutical company, regarding Ono's
acquisition of worldwide development and marketing rights to an oral
elastase inhibitor jointly developed by the two companies. A letter of
intent was signed April 12.
The two companies have undertaken joint research and development of oral
elastase inhibitors since March 1995, and a promising compound has been
found. Although Ono Pharmaceutical already holds exclusive rights to develop
and market the resulting compounds in the Far East, including Japan, based
on the initial agreement, this new agreement will expand Ono's rights
worldwide, including to the U.S. and Europe.
Elastase is a protease released by neutrophils. It is believed to be one
of the major causes of tissue destruction and organ failure in various
inflammatory diseases. The development of an effective elastase inhibitor
that can be administered orally is expected to lead to a new therapeutic
drug for inflammatory chronic diseases. Ono Pharmaceutical plans to proceed
with clinical studies focusing on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
(COPD) and rheumatoid arthritis.
Cortech was established in 1982 and specializes in research on drugs for
the treatment of inflammatory diseases, including protease inhibitors.