Inflazyme Pharmaceuticals Ltd., in keeping with its focus oninflammation, signed a letter of intent Tuesday to license otherapplications of its drugs and technologies to SuperGen Inc.

The letter of intent calls for SuperGen to make an equity investmentand milestone payments to Inflazyme in exchange for gettingworldwide exclusive rights. Financial terms were not disclosed. Thedeal is expected to close in 40 to 60 days.

"We've handed the ball over entirely to SuperGen, which is anaggressive company and a good partner," said James King, anInflazyme director and manager of investor relations. "This deal addsa lot of credibility for the company and, financially speaking, it has avery good impact."

Inflazyme, of Vancouver, B.C., trades on the Vancouver StockExchange under the symbol IZP. The company expects to begintrading in the U.S. with an OTC listing by the end of the week underthe symbol IZYPC, King said.

The lead program at SuperGen, of Emeryville, Calif., is developinggeneric cancer drugs, three of which are expected to reach the marketin the next few months, said Les Stickles, director of investorrelations for SuperGen. The company has nine generic cancercompounds in its pipeline and five "supergeneric" products, whichinclude value-added properties that allow for the manufacture ofready-to-inject, stable solutions. The company also is developingdrugs targeting anemias, and has a hormone-based drug for obesity inPhase II trials.

Inflazyme said while researching anti-inflammatory drugs itdiscovered a novel generation of small molecules that may havebenefit for cancers. It said preclinical studies of the compoundsshowed effectiveness against lung, colon and skin cancers, as well aslymphomas and leukemias.

A subsidiary of Laval, Quebec-based BioChem Pharma Inc. last yearwas negotiating with Inflazyme for rights to one of the compounds,Phosphonate. But that compound and all others will be owned bySuperGen if this deal goes through.

"Inflazyme's compounds can be a strong addition to our growingpipeline of anti-cancer drugs," Joseph Rubinfeld, SuperGen'spresident and CEO, said in a statement. "The value Inflazyme hasalready built into these drugs is consistent with our strategy ofentering the game at the 50-yard line and allows us to leverage ourcore strengths in clinical development."

Human studies of compounds being licensed could begin as early as1997, the companies said. n

-- Jim Shrine

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