Tuesday, Jun 22, 1982
South San Francisco, Calif. -- June 22, 1982 --Genentech, Inc. announced today that the Company entered into an agreement with two Japanese companies to develop a new thrombolytic agent as an improved therapy for degrading blood clots.
The new product, tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), will be produced using genetic engineering methods developed by Genentech. The Japanese companies Kyowa Hakko Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Chemical Industries, Ltd. will fund the research project and conduct clinical studies in Japan. Under the terms of the contract clinical studies in Japan. Under the terms of the contract, the Japanese companies will share exclusive marketing rights in Japan and possibly other specified countries of east Asia. Genentech will manufacture the product for worldwide markets and has retained marketing rights to all other countries.
Genentech president, Robert A. Swanson, said that Genentech scientists are collaborating with Dr. Desire Collen and colleagues at the University of Leuven, Belgium to produce and test TPA. Dr. Collen's team was the first to identify, isolate and purify small quantities of TPA, an enzyme produced in human tissues.
When activated, TPA works to degrade the blood clots which can cause major diseases of the circulatory system including heart attack, pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. When a major vein or artery is partially or totally obstructed by the formation of a blood clot, tissues served by the vessel may die from lack of oxygen.
Pulmonary embolisms and heart attacks are caused when part or all of a blood clot breaks free and is carried by the bloodstream until it lodges in a pulmonary artery.
Genentech previously announced the successful genetic engineering or urokinase which is presently obtained from human tissue and used as thrombolytic therapy in major world markets. Swanson said, "We believe TPA will be an important product for the thrombolytic market. ""Dr. Collen and his colleagues have conducted preliminary laboratory and human studies with tissue-extracted TPA which indicated this enzyme will have significant advantages in clinical therapy by acting solely and directly at the site of the clot.
"Since only small quantities of TPA can be extracted from human tissue or cell cultures, genetic engineering will be essential for developing TPA as a feasible improvement to present therapy. Our entire research program in the area of thrombolytic agents is directed toward tapping the significant worldwide marketing opportunities. The heart diseases caused by blood clot formation represent the leading acute health hazards to the adult population of industrialized countries."
Genentech, Inc. is a leader in the application of recombinant DNA (genetic engineering) technology for pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial chemical industries. Kyowa Hakko Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Chemical Industries are active in developing health care products for diverse pharmaceutical applications.
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