BioChem Therapeutic Inc. has paid for a six-monthoption to evaluate hepatitis C drug candidates inXLT Biopharmaceutical Ltd.'s rodent models.

BioChem Therapeutic, a wholly owned subsidiary ofLaval, Quebec-based BioChem Pharma Inc., has alibrary of compounds it's going to test in the privateRehovot, Israel, company's chimeric models, saidChristine Lennon, BioChem Pharma's director,investor relations.

Lennon said the XTL model is the only in vivo oneavailable for hepatitis C. BioChem Therapeutic hasan option to two additional viral infections, she said.

"The challenge has been to find a good, reliablescreening tool [for hepatitis C]," Lennon said. "Wethink we've found one."

BioChem Therapeutic has developed lead smallmolecules through its medicinal chemistrytechnology. It has a worldwide exclusive license toaccess XLT's models during the option period. XLTformerly was called Xenograft Technologies Ltd.

Separately, BioChem Pharma has been successful indeveloping antiviral compounds. Its 3TC compoundfor HIV is under regulatory review, and itslamivudine for hepatitis B has shown good results inlate-stage trials.

BioChem Pharma's stock (NASDAQ:BCHXF) jumped$2.38 Wednesday, closing at $31.75 per share. _ JimShrine

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