BioWorld International Correspondent

BORNHEIM, Germany The pharmaceutical company Schering AG, of Berlin, plans to acquire Collateral Therapeutics Inc., of San Diego, in a stock-for-stock deal valued at $140 million.

Schering wants to grow by expanding from its core business into neighboring fields, including special therapeutics for cardiology, in which Collateral works.

Schering has collaborated with Collateral for six years. The companies are exploring opportunities involving non-surgical cardiovascular gene therapy products focused on formation of new blood vessels, myocardial signaling and heart muscle regeneration, Schering said. Schering holds 12 percent of Collateral’s shares.

Collateral’s most advanced product, Generx, is a gene therapy for the potential treatment of stable exertional angina due to coronary artery disease and peripheral vascular disease. The therapy is based on genes triggering angiogenesis and thus improving blood flow to oxygen-deprived tissues. Generx is undergoing Phase II/III trials.

Schering decided to fully acquire Collateral because the Generx project now is mature enough to be integrated into Schering’s portfolio, Schering spokesman Oliver Renner told BioWorld International. “If the Phase III trials are successful, the product will strengthen our pipeline. We can now start preparations for marketing and integrate the existing knowledge into our in-house development programs,” he said.

Schering also has its own angiogenesis programs and collaborates with Philogen Srl, of Siena, Italy, in the development of anti-angiogenic therapeutic compounds and diagnostics, which tag pathologic tissue associated with angiogenesis.

In addition, Schering and the pharmaceutical company Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland, run a joint program on development of anti-angiogenic compounds for cancer therapy.

Schering wholly owns the Berlin-based company GTB-Gentherapie Berlin-Buch GmbH, which focuses on viral and nonviral vectors for gene therapy. Schering founded the joint venture Metreon GmbH, of Freiburg, with Freiburg-based CellGenix GmbH. In addition, it has a gene therapy research collaboration with Leadd BV, of Leiden, the Netherlands.

Schering’s strategic investments include a 10 percent stake in MorphoSys AG, of Martinsried, and 43 percent of the genomics company MetaGen AG, of Berlin.

Schering has a strong cash position. The company last year sold its shares in the agro-chemistry and plant biotechnology company Aventis Crop Science for EUR1.5 billion.