May 14, 1998
Interim Report on Collaboration with Genetics Institute, Inc., of the United States
Genetics Institute, Inc. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Home
Products Corporation) and Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. have for the past
several years been collaborating in the area of genomics with the aim of
developing new pharmaceutical products. This collaboration has yielded the
discovery of many new genes, and work has now entered a new stage of
elucidating the physiological action of individual proteins. Because several
of these new genes have been found to be involved in human disease and
physiological activities, the collaboration will most likely evolve into
research on application of these genes to health care in the near future.
One of the proteins encoded in a new gene is a biological substance
referred to as SDF-1. This substance is known to be involved in infection by
HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
AIDS is an immunodeficiency syndrome brought about by destruction of
immunocompetent cells caused by proliferation of HIV. Infection occurs when
HIV binds with molecules known as receptors located on the surface of cells,
after which it infiltrates the cells. Fusin has been determined to be one of
the receptors involved in the first stage of infection. SDF-1 strongly binds
with fusin. According to the results of in vitro experiments, SDF-1 has been
confirmed as inhibiting HIV proliferation, suggesting that SDF-1 may offer a
new therapeutic regimen for preventing HIV infection.
Because the action of SDF-1 is completely different from that of
reverse transcriptase inhibitors, HIV protease inhibitors, and other
currently dispensed AIDS drugs, the possibility now exists of finding a
completely new means of blocking HIV either by using SDF-1 alone or in
combination with existing treatments.
The two companies are now examining the most effective strategy to