Inhale Therapeutic Systems is getting at least $20 million up frontand broadening its technology platform through a potential $80million collaboration with Baxter International Inc.

Inhale, of Palo Alto, Calif., will attempt to adapt four Baxtercompounds for delivery in its dry powder pulmonary system. Thecompounds were not disclosed, but officials said it is the first use ofthe technology outside of Inhale's peptide and protein focus.

Baxter will immediately purchase $20 million of Inhale stock at a 25percent premium, or about 1.34 million shares at nearly $15 each.Baxter's stake in Inhale will be about 12 percent.

Baxter, of Deerfield, Ill., also will pay up to $60 million in researchand development funding and milestone payments for the first fourcompounds. Baxter has an option to add additional molecules, addinganother $55 million in potential payments for Inhale, said RobertChess, president and CEO of Inhale.

Inhale's stock (NASDAQ:INHL) gained 37 percent on the newsMonday, or $4.50, to close at $16.75.

Chess said in addition to taking Inhale beyond delivery ofmacromolecules, the deal with Baxter significantly expands itsproduct pipeline and strengthens its financial position.

The Baxter compounds are already approved chemical entities, sothey could be among the first products Inhale brings to market, Chesssaid.

Inhale's technology involves development of dry powderformulations of drugs. A device disperses the powder into a cloud,which the patient inhales. Because of the small powder size and theway the cloud is formed, the formulation is delivered to the deeplung. Large molecules have been targeted for the system becausepulmonary delivery would be advantageous in many instancescompared to injection.

In January 1995 Inhale and Pfizer Inc., of New York, agreed on adeal to apply the technology to the delivery of insulin. (See BioWorldToday, Jan. 20, 1995, p. 1.) Inhale also is collaborating with AshaiChemical Industry Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, on an osteoporosis drug; withALZA Corp., of Palo Alto, Calif., also in osteoporosis; ImmunexCorp., of Seattle, on an interleukin-1 receptor; and Centeon, of Kingof Prussia, Pa., in an undisclosed area. The insulin and IL-1 programsare in clinical testing. Inhale is working with a number of othercompanies on feasibility studies, Chess said, and is funding the initialwork on other applications.

With Baxter, Inhale has primary responsibility for development of thedrugs, and will manage clinical trials. Baxter is responsible forworldwide commercialization. Inhale also will get royalties andmanufacturing revenue. n

-- Jim Shrine

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