By Kim Coghill

Washington Editor

In its second major deal over a two-month period, Exelixis Inc. signed a four-year collaboration with Scios Inc. to develop a variety of lead compound structures for both companies.

Detailed financial terms were not released. But Glen Sato, Exelixis¿ chief financial officer and vice president of legal affairs, told BioWorld Today that Exelixis will receive a fee per compound in addition to an up-front payment. The deal also gives each company the right to use the compounds in collaborations with other companies.

Exelixis, of South San Francisco, in August entered a similar agreement using its combinatorial chemistry platform with Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 15, 2001.)

¿In the case of Elan, they identified a specified library they wanted, but with Scios, we are going to work together and jointly identify where they would like to have a customized high-throughput screening library developed,¿ Sato said.

Scios, of Sunnyvale, Calif., develops treatments for cardiovascular and inflammatory disease. The FDA recently approved Natrecor (nesiritide), Scios¿ intravenous treatment for acute congestive heart failure. Natrecor is the first new medicine developed for this indication in 12 years. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 14, 2001.)

Sato said Scios is interested in Exelixis¿ technology because it provides the ability to make a lot of compounds with a large amount of diversity.

¿For us, this is a strategic addition to the diversity and perspective of our libraries,¿ Sato said. ¿We have said to the Street that we have a very high-quality platform and the ability to produce interesting small molecules, so this is validation for us. In addition to Elan, it is another step in validation by having a third party and other vendors say, Gee, we really like the work and the product that your platform can deliver.¿¿

Exelixis provides comparative genomics and model systems genetic services. In mid-summer, the company filed a shelf registration to sell up to $150 million in common stock to help pay for development and manufacturing of its anticancer drug, rebeccamycin. (See BioWorld Today, July 31, 2001.)

In other business, Exelixis also has been involved in a collaboration with Peapack, N.J.-based Pharmacia Corp. aimed at identifying therapies for Alzheimer¿s disease, Type II diabetes and complications associated with metabolic conditions. The collaboration concludes in February.

Exelixis¿ stock (NASDAQ:EXEL) closed Monday at $11.50, down 15 cents, while Scios¿ stock (NASDAQ:SCIO) closed at $18.78, down 30 cents.