Contact:  Kristin Fayer   (847) 470-6728


DECEMBER 17, 1996 — Chicago, IL — G.D. Searle & Co., the pharmaceutical subsidiary of Monsanto Company, has reached a definitive agreement with U.K-based Ethical Holdings plc to in-license a range of hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) patch products from the company.

The alliance covers the development of transdermal HRT patch products (for the treatment of vasomotor symptoms commonly associated with menopause) for sale in the United States and selected countries in Europe and the Asia/Pacific. In exchange for the licensing rights granted to Searle, Ethical will receive an upfront payment and additional license fee payments tied to development milestones. Ethical will be responsible for development in the United States, which will support product registration in other territories.

The worldwide market for HRT products is approximately $2 billion and is expected to continue to grow significantly as the baby boom population ages, bringing an increased number of women entering menopause. With the addition of HRT products, Searle will be able to expand beyond its traditional focus on younger women in their reproductive years to satisfy the unmet medical needs of the rapidly growing perimenopausal and postmenopausal age segments.

"We are pleased to have entered this alliance with Ethical, one of the world's leading companies in the development of HRT patch products. The addition of these products to our portfolio represents a significant global expansion opportunity which will enable Searle to further extend its market reach in women's healthcare, a core therapeutic area for the company," said Searle Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard U. De Schutter. "This alliance with Ethical will also strengthen Searle's female health care presence in ob/gyn and primary care physician communities in key world areas, by providing them with solutions that will help them manage their patients' health for a lifetime."

Searle established its presence in women's healthcare 36 years ago through the development of the world's first oral contraceptive. The acquisition of the Syntex women's healthcare product line from Roche in August 1995 further strengthened the company's commitment to female health with the addition of a line of oral contraceptive products to complement Searle's Demulen. In addition, Searle markets Synarel (also from Roche) for the treatment of endometriosis in the United States and use in in-vitro fertilization in the United Kingdom, as well as the anti-infective Flagyl for the treatment of trichomoniasis, amebiasis and anaerobic infections.

"Our decision to enter into this partnership with Searle was based upon their significant presence in women's health and strategic focus on this market. We are confident that the combined efforts of Ethical's development team and Searle's marketing force will provide significant potential for the HRT products," said Dr. Ronald Albano, president of American Operations of the Ethical Group.

The effectiveness of this transaction is pending Hart-Scott-Rodino notification.

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Searle, based in Skokie, IL, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Monsanto Company that develops, manufactures and markets pharmaceuticals and other health care solutions worldwide. For more information about the company, consult Searle's Internet web site:

Ethical Holdings plc is one of the world's leading drug delivery groups specializing in pharmaceutical products using the company's proprietary drug delivery systems, including controlled-release tablets and transdermal patches.

Note to editors: Demulen, Synarel and Flagyl are trademarks and service marks owned and licensed by Searle.

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