Immunex Corp. said it signed a three-year agreement with Genesis Research and Development Corp. Ltd. to research and develop selected molecules as well as provide molecular biology and other research services to each other.

Genesis, located in Auckland, New Zealand, was founded in 1994. The companies have a history of working together and Immunex is a founding shareholder in Genesis. While Immunex officials would not comment on the nature of the new agreement, Robin Shapiro, director of public affairs at Immunex, said the deal is nothing new for the Seattle-based company.

“This is similar to agreements that we have struck with many companies,” she said. “This, like all our collaborations, seeks to fuel our pipeline.”

Genesis has a technology platform to identify new molecules that regulate the flow of information between cells. The company trades on both the Australian and New Zealand stock exchanges. Previously, Immunex and Genesis collaborated using Genesis’ expressed sequence tag databases.

Separately, Immunex and Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., said the Federal Trade Commission requested additional information in connection with the companies’ proposed $16 billion stock-and-cash merger, made public in mid-December. Shapiro, while not able to comment on just what the FTC asked for, said the information request is not unusual.

“In large mergers and acquisitions, it is typical to get a second request and we are doing everything possible to gather the information requested by the FTC,” she said.

Since the merger was announced, Immunex received another approval for its expanding drug Enbrel its fourth, this time for psoriatic arthritis. The drug generated $761.9 million in sales in 2001. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 17, 2002, and Jan. 25, 2002.)

Immunex’s stock (NASDAQ:IMNX) fell 18 cents Thursday to close at $28. Amgen’s stock (NASDAQ:AMGN) dropped 43 cents to close at $56.01.