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NYCOMED 10-YEAR R&D AGREEMENT WITH DAIICHI SEIYAKU

Executive Summary

NYCOMED 10-YEAR R&D AGREEMENT WITH DAIICHI SEIYAKU Company of Tokyo provides Daiichi with an option for exclusive licensing and marketing rights in Japan to all contrast media imaging products developed by the Norwegian firm up to 1999. Under the agreement, Daiichi will handle all clinical requirements to market the products in Japan, according to a Nov. 7 release. The agreement expands Nycomed's current relationship with Daiichi, which already distributes Nycomed's Omnipaque (iohexol) product in Japan. Daiichi sales of Omnipaque are expected to reach $160 mil. this year, representing about 40% of the non-ionic contrast media market in that country. Sterling markets Omnipaque in the U.S. under an agreement with Nycomed. As part of the arrangement, "Daiichi shall make substantial annual contributions [to Nycomed] by financing parts of Nycomed's current R&D costs in the imaging field during the agreement period," the release notes. Daiichi also has agreed to "purchase from Nycomed all their requirements of bulk substance for future contrast media resulting from this agreement." In addition to the R&D agreement, the two firms signed a second accord under which Daiichi will exercise a previous option for Nycomed's third generation contrast medium, iodixanol. A non-ionic contrast medium for x-ray, iodixanol is in Phase I trials in Norway. No IND has yet been filed in the U.S. "Iodixanol is expected to be ready for market introduction in three to four years, provided the testing runs satisfactorily," the release states. Nycomed recently announced an option agreement for the acquisition of U.S. contrast media manufacturer Salutar for $55 mil. ("The Pink Sheet" Nov. 7, T&G-7). The company says that "separate negotiations will take place between Daiichi and Nycomed concerning Salutar products in Japan," and that the agreement "does not automatically include Salutar products."
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