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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 1999

Eisai and BASF Pharma Announce Agreement to Co-Develop Knoll's new Anti-Rheumatic in Japan

Eisai Co., Ltd.
Knoll Japan K.K.


(Tokyo and Ludwigshafen, June 21, 1999) - Eisai Co., Ltd., Japan and Knoll AG, representing BASF Pharma, the pharmaceutical operations of BASF Aktiengesellschaft, Germany, concluded a license agreement for the joint development of BASF Pharma's new molecular entity (code name D2E7) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in Japan.


Under the terms of the agreement, Eisai and Knoll Japan, a subsidiary of Knoll AG, will clinically co-develop the compound in Japan. Eisai Co. Ltd. will also be granted a license to sell the pharmaceutical product in the territories of Japan, Taiwan and Korea, pending the successful completion of the development and regulatory approval of the product.


"We are delighted to extend our longstanding partnership with Eisai Co., Ltd. by the development of this promising compound which has been discovered by BASF Pharma," emphasises Professor Erich Schlick, Head of Research and Development at BASF Pharma. "We are currently pursuing clinical phase II trials in Europe and the U.S. We are convinced that together with Eisai we will be able to effectively extend these development activities to Japan."


Dr. Jiro Hasegawa, Eisai's Director of Clinical Development noted, "We look forward to a successful cooperation with Knoll Japan in bringing beneficial treatments to those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.


Worldwide six million patients suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. D2E7 belongs to a new class of medicines that neutralise the activity of TNF (tumor necrosis factor alpha). TNF is a communication molecule that accumulates in the joints initiating an inflammatory response that causes swelling, pain and joint damage - first in the hands, feet, elbows and knees and often rendering the patient disabled. Anti-TNF drugs prevent this reaction by blocking the chemical message sent from cell to cell that results in joint inflammation and swelling. Essentially, D2E7 captures TNF and interrupts the process that can lead to the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.


Eisai Co., Ltd. is a research-based human health care company which discovers, develops and markets products in more than 30 countries. Through a global network of research facilities, manufacturing sites and marketing subsidiaries, Eisai actively participates in all aspects of the worldwide health care system. The company reported sales of over $2.3 billion in 1998 with greater than 15 percent of sales spent for research and development.


BASF Pharma is the label used to designate the global corporate pharmaceutical operations of BASF Aktiengesellschaft with headquarters based at Knoll AG in Ludwigshafen, Germany. In 1998, BASF Pharma sales amounted to DM4.5 billion, representing an increase of 10 percent over the preceding year. The work force numbers more than 13,000.


For additional inquiries contact:


Eisai Co., Ltd.
Public Relations & Legal Division
Telephone: 03-3817-5120, Facsimile: 03-3811-3077


BASF Japan Ltd.
Public Relations
Mieko Banno
Telephone: 03-3238-2226, Facsimile: 03-3238-2514


Knoll AG
Corporate Communications
Friederike Kanne
Telephone +49-621-589-1428, Facsimile: +49-621-589-1562