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Schering seeks to step up biotech activities in U.S.

Schering AG intends to acquire the Leukine (sargramostim) business from the U.S. company, Immunex Corporation. Leukine is being offered for sale by Immunex in connection with the pending acquisition of Immunex Corporation by Amgen Inc.

Leukine provides support therapy in hematological oncology. It is based on the growth factor GMCSF, which is used for restoring the immune system, for example after chemotherapy or a bone-marrow transplant. With the acquisition, Schering will pursue ongoing clinical development of Leukine for a potential new indication in Crohn's Disease, a chronic inflammatory disease of the digestive tract. At present there is no adequate treatment for this usually intermittent disease.

"With the acquisition of Leukine, we are strengthening our market position in the field of oncology and adding an innovative technology platform to our biotechnology development portfolio," said Dr Hubertus Erlen, Chairman of the Executive Board of Schering AG. "At the same time, this is an important step forward in the expansion of our business in the United States."

Leukine is currently in Phase II of clinical development as a possible treatment for Crohn's Disease. The agreement still has to be approved by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and is conditional upon on the pending acquisition of Immunex Corporation by Amgen Inc.

Posted: May 2002