Lynx Therapeutics Inc. on Tuesday signed on its second partner fordevelopment of its lead restenosis drug. Together the deals aresimilar to one terminated earlier this year with the former Wellcomeplc.

Lynx, of Hayward, Calif., said it will get $4 million up front in apotential $20 million deal with Schwarz Pharma AG, which gainedEuropean and North American rights for the syntheticoligonucleotide, LR-3280. Schwarz, of Monheim, Germany, willpurchase drug from Lynx and cover all development costs in itsterritories.

In August 1994 Lynx entered a potential $30 million collaborationcovering LR-3280 with London-based Wellcome. That deal wasterminated formally in March 1996 in a move related to Glaxo plc'sacquisition of Wellcome. In July, Lynx partnered the compound inJapan and certain other Asian countries with Tanabe Seiyaku Co.Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, in a deal involving a $3.5 million up-frontpayment and another $8 million in milestones.

Together the deals have a potential of $31.5 million, a little morethan the Wellcome collaboration. Lynx also received $4.6 millionfrom Wellcome before that deal was ended.

LR-3280 is designed to interfere with expression of a gene believedto play a role in the scarring, or restenosis, that follows angioplastyand similar procedures used to clear obstructions caused byatherosclerotic plaque in coronary arteries, Lynx said.

A safety study of LR-3280 was completed in Argentina and a PhaseII study recently began in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. That double-blind, placebo-controlled study includes angioplasty patients whohave a stent inserted into one coronary artery. Drug is delivered at thesite of stent insertion. After six months the volume of proliferativetissue will be determined by intravascular ultrasound in the treatedvs. control group, said Lynx President David Martin Jr.

That study is expected to involve fewer than 100 patients and becompleted by the end of next year, Martin said. In the meantime adose-escalation efficacy study in the U.S. is being planned for earlynext year. Martin said the protocol has not been designed but it maybe similar to the Rotterdam study. Trials also are scheduled to beginnext year in Japan, he said.

"We fully expect Schwarz and Tanabe to be interacting with eachother and us," making it similar to a worldwide development plan,Martin said. Both partners are covering all development costs, hesaid.

For Schwarz the deal with Lynx marks its second collaboration with aU.S. biotechnology company. The pharmaceutical company, whichfocuses on cardiovascular diseases, signed its first U.S. collaborationin May 1995 with San Diego-based Cytel Corp. in the area ofcarbohydrate selectin blockers. The lead drug from that deal,Cylexin, failed in a Phase II trial assessing its ability to reducecardiac reperfusion injury. n

-- Jim Shrine

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.