By Karen Pihl-Carey

COR Therapeutics Inc. proposed issuing $100 million of convertible subordinated notes due in 2006, the proceeds of which will be used in part to increase Integrilin sales.

At the holder's option, the notes may be converted into COR's common stock at an undetermined price. COR, of South San Francisco, also may issue up to $25 million of additional notes to cover overallotments.

The offering came just one day after COR's president and CEO, Vaughn Kailian, told investors they could expect growth in sales next year of the company's lead drug, an anti-clotting agent for acute coronary syndrome called Integrilin (eptifibatide). Kailian told investors at a conference in New York on Thursday the company is looking to expand sales of the drug by adding to its sales force and by encouraging patients to take the drug earlier.

The money raised would be used for "more sales and marketing for Integrilin and other research and development activities of the company and other general corporate purposes," COR's senior manager of investor relations, Jacquelyn Jeffries, told BioWorld Today.

Bound by SEC regulations, Jeffries could say little more until the deal is finalized. She would not say whether the company has a buyer yet, what would determine the stock price for the convertible notes or at what interest rate COR would pay the money back.

She did say more information would be released upon completion of the deal.

Integrilin received FDA approval in May 1998 for the treatment of patients with acute coronary syndromes, including unstable angina and non-Q-wave myocardial infarction, and as an adjunct to percutaneous coronary intervention, which includes angioplasty, atherectomy and stent replacement. COR received a $24 million milestone payment from Schering-Plough Corp., of Madison, N.J., for winning the U.S. marketing approval. (See BioWorld Today, June 11, 1998, p. 1.)

Integrilin is a synthetic peptide derived from the venom of the Southeastern pygmy rattlesnake. It blocks the glycoprotein IIb/IIIa (GP IIb-IIIa) receptor, which binds fibrinogen and mediates platelet aggregation. Its competitors include Whitehouse, N.J.-based Merck & Co. Inc.'s anti-platelet drug, Aggrastat, and ReoPro, co-marketed by Malvern, Pa.-based Centocor Inc. and Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly & Co.

Sales of Integrilin, which was launched in June 1998, for the first six months of this year were $26.7 million. COR and Schering-Plough co-promote the drug in the United States, splitting any profits or losses on a 50-50 basis.

The two companies recently gained approval to market the drug in Europe for the prevention of early myocardial infarction in patients with acute coronary syndrome. For reaching the milestone, COR received a $12 million payment from Schering-Plough, which will launch and market Integrilin in Europe. In turn, COR will receive royalties during a specified time period. Once that period expires, COR will have the option of co-promoting the drug in an agreement similar to what exists in the United States.

COR and Schering-Plough also are collaborating in Phase II clinical trials of Integrilin with different thrombolytics in the setting of acute myocardial infarction.

COR posted $9 million and $16.5 million in revenues for the three- and six-month periods ending June 30. It reported a $9.7 million loss in the three-month period and a $21.5 million loss in the six-month period.

Aside from Integrilin, COR is working in Phase I and Phase II clinical trials on its oral GP IIb-IIIa inhibitor, cromafiban, which has the potential to help prevent acute myocardial infarction, unstable angina, thrombotic stroke and peripheral arterial occlusive disease. With bleeding being the most prevalent complication of the therapy, cromafiban has demonstrated a high affinity and specificity for GP IIb-IIIa, and its plasma concentrations have indicated a half-life that allows for once-daily dosing.

COR's stock (NASDAQ:CORR) closed Friday at $22.687, down 37.5 cents.