The text starts here.

News Release

January 8, 1998

Eisai and Knoll AG Announce A License Agreement For A New Anti-Obesity Drug in Japan

Eisai Co., Ltd.
Knoll Japan

January 8, 1998 - Eisai Co., Ltd. of Tokyo (President and CEO: Haruo Naito) and Knoll AG (headquarters: Ludwigshafen, president: Dr. Thorlef Spickschen), BASF's pharmaceuticals operating division, concluded a license agreement for the joint development and marketing of BASF Pharma's new anti-obesity drug, sibutramine (generic name), in Japan.

Under the terms of agreement, Eisai and Knoll Japan, a subsidiary of Knoll AG will share clinical development costs in Japan. The product will be marketed under two different trade names by Eisai and Hokuriku Seiyaku. Knoll AG holds a 58.9 percent equity stake in Hokuriku Seiyaku.

Phase I clinical trials in Japan are scheduled to begin in early 1998,with filing for marketing approval to follow in 2003, and the launch of sibutramine is planned for 2005.

With the growth of western eating habits in Japan, obesity becomes one of the factors which increases the difficulty of treating many chronic diseases including non-insulin dependent diabetes.

Sibutramine inhibits the reuptake of neurotransmitters such as noradrenalin and serotonin, and enhances satiety (the feeling of fullness) and metabolic rate, resulting in a loss of body weight.Sibutramine was approved in the US and Mexico in November 1997 and has been filed for approval in Germany.

Contacts: Public Relations, Eisai Co., Ltd.
Phone: 03-3817-5120
Fax: 03-3811-3077
Contacts: Public Relations, BASF Japan
Phone: 03-3238-2226
Fax: 03-3238-2514