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Kirin to Acquire Hematech, LLC - Aims to Accelerate Development of Fully Human Polyclonal Antibody Medicines.

Tokyo, Japan, July 25, 2005 - (JCN Newswire) - Kirin Brewery Company, Limited (TSE: 2503; Nasdaq: KNBWY) today announced that on July 18, 2005 it had closed on the acquisition of substantially all of Hematech, LLC. The agreement was signed by Katsuhiko Asano, president of Pharmaceutical Division for Kirin, and James M. Barton, CEO for Hematech, among other parties, and means that Hematech has become a subsidiary of Kirin.

Through this acquisition, Kirin has acquired Hematech's core technology and research infrastructure for production of bovine-derived human polyclonal antibodies. As a result, Kirin will hold Hematech's rights primarily related to polyclonal antibody production, along with the development and marketing rights already held by Kirin.

Human antibody-producing cows, containing full-length human antibody genes, are expected to prove useful for the development of a range of human antibody-based drugs. In 1999 Kirin and Hematech entered into a research collaboration agreement on the development of human antibody-producing cows. In 2002 Kirin made use of a proprietary human artificial chromosome vector to introduce human antibody genes into bovine cells and, using Hematech's technology, created cows capable of producing human antibody proteins and bovine antibody proteins. Subsequently, Kirin and Hematech have progressed to developing cows that can efficiently produce human antibodies.

Kirin has already successfully developed a human antibody-producing mouse, and has formed a strategic alliance with US company Medarex, Inc. to commercialize this technology on a global basis. Whereas human antibody-producing mice are used for the development of monoclonal antibodies, human antibody-producing cows will be used for the development of large quantities of polyclonal antibodies, which are expected to contribute to the development of treatments for viral or bacterial infections, autoimmune disorders, and other medical conditions.

The pharmaceutical industry currently uses gamma globulin preparations extracted and refined from human blood serum. By making use of human antibody-producing cows it will become possible to create an efficient, safe, and steady supply of polyclonal antibodies. This is expected to have widespread implications for the development of new medicines to combat a variety of infectious and other diseases.

Outline of Hematech, LLC

Hematech, LLC, based in Sioux Falls, SD, United States, was founded in 1998 and is a venture business relating to the development and production of antibodies, and owner of technology for the production of transgenic cows. The representative is James Robl.

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Publication:JCN Newswires
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 26, 2005
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