Incyte Pharmaceuticals Inc., which said last month ninepharmaceutical companies had committed $160 million for non-exclusive access to its genomic data bases, signed up German drugmaker Schering AG Monday as the tenth client and fourth newsubscriber in four months.

Berlin-based Schering's deal gives its access to Incyte's core database, called Lifeseq (Library of Information for ExpressedSequences), and its full length gene data base for use in drugdiscovery.

In addition to sequencing human genes, Incyte, of Palo Alto, Calif.,has developed a mapping data base for human genes and microbialgene data bases. It also designs proprietary satellite data bases usingtissue samples specific to clients' research programs.

In addition to fees for access to the data bases, subscribers pay foreither non-exclusive or exclusive licenses for specific genes. Incytealso will receive milestone payments and royalties for productsdeveloped from the genetic data.

Dayna Wheeler, Incyte's spokeswoman, said that non-exclusivelicenses for more than 200 genes have been issued. The licensescover use of the genes to discover targets for small-moleculecompounds. An exclusive license, she said, would cover use of agene for a potentially therapeutic protein.

Incyte said the DNA sequence data bases contain 1.5 million genefragments with that number increasing by 100,000 per month. Fourmonths ago the company estimated the partial sequences representednearly 100,000 human genes. The number of genes is subject todebate, but most researchers have estimated a total in the range of70,000 to 100,000. Incyte said its work suggests the human genomemay contain as many as 150,000 genes.

Incyte signed BASF AG, of Ludwigshafen, Germany, and ZenecaLtd., of London, as subscribers in June 1996. Roche Holding Ltd., ofBasel, Switzerland, became an Incyte client in April 1996.

Other subscribers are Pfizer Inc., of New York,; Pharmacia &Upjohn Co., of London; Novo Nordisk A/S, of Bagsvaerd, Denmark;Hoechst Marion Roussel, of Frankfurt, Germany; AbbottLaboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill.; and Johnson & Johnson of NewBrunswick, N.J.

When the BASF deal was announced, Incyte said its nine partnershad committed $160 million for access to the various gene sequencesand expression data bases. (See BioWorld Today, June 28, 1996, p.2.)

Incyte's stock (NASDAQ:INCY) closed Monday up $3.12 to $40.62.n

-- Charles Craig

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