Chiron Grants Nonexclusive HCV License to Roche

EMERYVILLE, Calif. --Chiron Corporation announced that it has granted to F. Hoffmann-La Roche (Roche) a nonexclusive license for the research, development and commercialization of small molecule therapeutics against hepatitis C virus (HCV) drug targets. Under the terms of the agreement, Roche would pay Chiron up-front license fees, milestone payments and royalties on products. The specific financial terms and other details of the license were not disclosed.

"This agreement is a further example of Chiron's strong commitment to making its technology widely available to companies working to find therapies for hepatitis C," said Ursula Bartels, Esq., Chiron's general counsel. "We continue to strategically leverage our HCV intellectual property and actively license this technology to other companies, while we pursue our own research into therapeutic agents for hepatitis C."

About Hepatitis C

In 1987, Chiron scientists Michael Houghton, Ph.D.; Qui-Lim Choo, Ph.D.; and George Kuo, Ph.D., cloned and first identified HCV as the cause of transfusion-related non-A, non-B hepatitis. This breakthrough marked the first time a virus was cloned before it had been grown in tissue culture or otherwise isolated. The Chiron scientists received the prestigious Lasker Award in recognition of this discovery. Since the initial work, Chiron has been granted more than 100 HCV-related patents in over 20 countries, including patents directed to hepatitis C polypeptides encoded throughout the genomes of HCV. Such polypeptides can be used in a variety of medical applications, including blood screening, clinical diagnosis, vaccines and as therapeutic targets for drug screening. A number of therapeutic companies have been granted nonexclusive licenses to Chiron's HCV technology for drug screening purposes, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Japan Tobacco Inc., Gilead, Pfizer, Boehringer-Ingelheim, and InterMune.

Source: Chiron Corporation