PARIS - Monsanto has withdrawn funding for a joint research program it was conducting with Flamel Technologies S.A. aimed at developing an enhanced formulation of Monsanto's glyphosate herbicide, Roundup.

The research was being carried out under the terms of a collaboration agreement signed on Dec. 30, 1997, and during the first year of the collaboration, Flamel, of Vinissieux, validated its delivery technology in greenhouse tests and filed seven new patent applications.

The companies declined to give any reason for the termination of the program, but disclosed that they were discussing the possibility of continuing their collaboration on a different basis and of giving Flamel accelerated access to certain intellectual property rights arising from the research.

Flamel specializes in the development of advanced polymer technologies for life science applications and has patented two controlled-release drug delivery systems, Micropump and Medusa, using these materials. In addition, it has developed an agrochemical delivery system (Agsome) and produces biomaterials for biomedical devices (under the ColCys name) and photochromic materials for organic ophthalmic lenses (in conjunction with Corning).

Flamel's relationship with Monsanto goes further than Roundup, since Monsanto subsidiary Searle & Co. has the license to market Flamel's controlled-release aspirin, Asacard, in most European countries under an agreement providing for Searle to manufacture the final product using microparticles containing aspirin supplied by Flamel.