Arris Pharmaceutical Corp. expanded its three-year-old relationshipwith Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. for use of the former's combinatorialchemistry to create a broad, diverse library of synthetic organiccompounds that would serve as potential small molecule drugs for awide variety of diseases.

Arris forged two collaborations with Pharmacia AB, of Uppsala,Sweden, prior to the pharmaceutical company's $13 billion merger in1995 with Upjohn Co., of Kalamazoo, Mich. Those ongoing alliancestarget serine protease inhibitors as blood anticoagulants and cytokinereceptor dimerization for small molecules that mimic Pharmacia'sgrowth hormone. The serine protease inhibitor deal, negotiated inSeptember 1995, is a five-year collaboration worth a potential $40million to Arris.

John Walker, president and CEO of South San Francisco-based Arris,said the expanded collaboration with Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. todevelop a probe library of 250,000 diverse small moleculecompounds focuses on drug discovery programs initiated at Upjohn.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Walker said Arris willreceive licensing fees and milestone payments. No equity investmentis involved. Based on terms of the 1993 collaboration with Pharmaciafor growth hormone mimetics, Pharmacia & Upjohn own an 8percent interest in Arris.

Walker described the newest alliance as a technology-basedcollaboration in which both Arris and Pharmacia & Upjohn willbenefit from the probe library, whose molecules will be assessed forpotential therapeutic activity using Arris' high throughput screeningcapabilities.

If a promising molecule is identified, Walker said, combinatorialchemistry will be applied to generate more target-specific libraries ofcompounds.

Once Arris and Pharmacia & Upjohn select compounds from theprobe library they will have individual rights to them, but will returnthose molecules to the general library if their development does notprogress.

Walker said Arris may use the broad library for its Type II diabetesdrug discovery efforts. Under terms of the agreement with Pharmacia& Upjohn, Arris would be able to develop a compound itself or seekcollaborations with other firms.

Arris' stock (NASDAQ:ARRS) closed Tuesday at $15.06, down 31cents. n

-- Charles Craig

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