BioChem Therapeutic Inc. and Oncogene Science Inc. entered into ajoint collaborative effort to develop antiviral drugs for hepatitis Cand novel approaches for HIV.

Eventually each company will commit 12 to 15 scientists to theprogram, said Matthew Haines, corporate communications directorfor Oncogene. He said targets already have been identified.

The agreement calls for shared research and development. The termis five years, with a review after three years. Oncogene, of Uniondale,N.Y., and BioChem Therapeutic, wholly owned subsidiary of Laval,Quebec-based BioChem Pharma Inc., also share commercializationrights.

"Oncogene Science is at the forefront of drug lead discovery and is aleader in high-throughput screening utilizing cell-based assays," saidBioChem Therapeutic President Michael Grey. "This capability,coupled with BioChem's proven ability to rapidly advance leads intodevelopment candidates by applying its medicinal chemistryexpertise, will create a powerful scientific collaboration."

Oncogene Science recently completed a public offering of 2.825million shares of stock at $9.13 per share. Another 500,000 shareswere sold to BioChem Pharma. The companies said at that time theywere in discussions to collaborate in the areas of hepatitis C and HIV._ Jim Shrine

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