By Kim Coghill

Washington Editor

Bayer AG and Paradigm Genetics Inc. extended and expanded their research agreement to develop herbicides.

The five-year deal, worth up to $30 million, including milestones, is an extension of a potential $40 million agreement signed by the companies in 1998. Paradigm also would receive success fees for all products developed that reach the market. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 3, 1998.)

In the deal, Paradigm contributes technology, to be used in Leverkusen, Germany-based Bayer¿s own screening systems, to decode genetic information and identify gene function in weeds.

Paradigm Genetics, a functional genomics company founded in 1997, will insert genes into the arabidopsis plant and analyze the effects. ¿We¿ll take a look at the effects that the gene alteration had on that particular plant,¿ said Ellen Corliss, vice president of corporate communications for Paradigm. ¿Did the plant grow faster, did it not grow, did it die? Of course, if it dies, that means it was a lethal target, which is good when you are talking about herbicide discovery because you are looking for something that is going to kill weeds.¿

Since the original agreement started, Paradigm has delivered ¿several assays in the vicinity of 200 lead targets to Bayer,¿ Corliss said. ¿The assay is used by Bayer to determine the value of those targets in potential herbicides.¿

Paradigm, which employs 234 people, did not collect the entire $40 million agreed upon in the original deal. ¿That was on the high end; we probably pulled in a little less than that,¿ Corliss said.

Paradigm, of Research Triangle Park, N.C., was founded by president and CEO John Ryals and three other senior managers from Research Triangle Park-based Novartis Crop Protection, a subsidiary of Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland.

Paradigm¿s stock (NASDAQ:PDGM) closed Tuesday at $7.25, up 15 cents.

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