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VERTEX AND ROUSSEL UCLAF SIGN $30 MILLION AGREEMENT TO DEVELOP NOVEL DRUGS TO TREAT INFLAMMATION

 CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ: VRTX) and Roussel Uclaf announced today that they have signed an agreement to collaborate on the development of novel, orally active drugs for the treatment of inflammation. Roussel's investment in this research program could total over $30 million as payment for research support and development milestones. Roussel will also commit significant scientific resources to the program and will play a major role in the drug discovery and development effort.
 The goal of the collaborative program is to treat acute and chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease. Under the terms of the agreement, Vertex and Roussel will undertake a joint effort to design and develop compounds that target an enzyme called IL-1 beta converting enzyme. Roussel has exclusive rights to develop and commercialize drugs resulting from the joint research effort in Europe. Vertex has exclusive development and marketing rights to the compounds in the United States and the rest of the Americas. Each party will co-promote products in the other party's exclusive territory. Vertex and Roussel will each have rights to develop and market the drugs in Far Eastern countries including Japan.
 Dr. Joshua Boger, president and chief executive officer of Vertex, commented, "Our agreement with Roussel, one of Europe's most advanced pharmaceutical companies, is an endorsement of our structure-based design efforts and, in particular, our progress in the inflammation field." He added, "Roussel brings to this collaboration a strong development and marketing organization, an excellent R&D organization, and, in particular, an established research capability in the inflammation field."
 Dr. Jacques Raynaud, director of research of Roussel, said, "We have great respect for Vertex's innovative rational drug design approach, and we are enthusiastic about the potential of this collaborative program. Roussel Uclaf has a significant commitment to the discovery and development of drugs to treat inflammation and immunological disorders. The combination of Vertex and Roussel scientists working on this program will result in a uniquely powerful and focused drug discovery effort."
 IL-1 beta converting enzyme has significant potential as a target for drug discovery because of its key role in the release of the inflammatory protein, interleukin-1 beta. Excess levels of interleukin- 1 beta are implicated in a wide range of inflammatory conditions and diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, insulin-dependent diabetes, lupus and septic shock. The companies plan to initially focus on developing drugs for disease indications for which there are clear clinical endpoints.
 Roussel-Uclaf, based in Paris, is a major, international pharmaceutical company which had sales of approximately $2.5 billion in 1992 and approximately $300 million of research investment. Their major pharmaceutical products are in the antibiotic, cardiovascular, endocrinology and inflammatory fields. The collaboration with Vertex demonstrates Roussel's emphasis on strengthening its position in the immunology and anti-inflammation fields.
 Vertex is a leader in the use of structure-based rational drug design, a scientific approach to drug discovery which uses atomic level information to design synthetic compounds that interact with protei targets involved in disease processes. Vertex is using advanced techniques of biology, chemistry and biophysics to create novel, small molecule compounds that the company plans to develop as orally deliverable drugs to treat major human diseases. Vertex is concentrating on the development of drugs in the areas of immunology, cancer, inflammation, antiviral therapy and hematology.
 -0- 9/9/93
 /CONTACT: Stephanie K. Marrus, director of corporate communications for Vertex Pharmaceuticals, 617-499-2490; Robert Gottlieb, senior vice president of Feinstein Partners 617-577-8110; Joseph Orsini, director, business development for Roussel Uclaf, Paris, France, 011-33-1-4062-4233/
 (VRTX)


CO: Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated; Roussel Uclaf ST: Massachusetts IN: MTC SU: JVN

DJ -- NE001 -- 0099 09/09/93 07:59 EDT
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Date:Sep 9, 1993
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