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Roche Gets Right to Sell AIDS Drug in Asia

CALIFORNIA | HEALTH | THE STATE

July 16, 1997|(Bloomberg News)

Agouron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Japan Tobacco Inc. granted Roche Holding the exclusive right to sell their AIDS treatment in several Asian countries. Under the agreement, Roche will pay the companies $2 million each upfront and $2 million when the first country approves the drug, known as Viracept. The countries include China, India, Turkey and Taiwan. Basel, Switzerland-based Roche will also pay unspecified royalties to Agouron and Japan Tobacco. Roche already has the right to sell the treatment in Europe and several other countries. La Jolla-based Agouron developed Viracept with Tokyo-based Japan Tobacco. The drug, which won U.S. approval in March, works by inhibiting an enzyme that helps HIV replicate. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. Agouron shares rose 75 cents to close at $82 on Nasdaq.

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