BioChem Pharma Inc. could receive up to $30 millionfrom Warner-Lambert Co. on a collaboration to developan orally active small molecule compound for preventionof thrombosis, or blood clots.

Neither BioChem Pharma, of Laval, Quebec, nor Warner-Lambert, of Morris Plains, N.J., would reveal financialdetails of the agreement.

Christine Lennon, Biochem Pharma spokesman, said if acompound derived from the alliance is approved formarketing, her company would receive about $30 millionin research and development milestone payments. Thatfunding includes an undisclosed up-front contribution.

In addition, Biochem Pharma would receive royalties andwill retain marketing rights in Canada and Europe, whichLennon said would account for about 40 percent of thedrug's potential sales. Warner-Lambert has rights to sellthe product elsewhere in the world, including the U.S.and Japan.

Lennon said the market for current anti-blood clot drugs,such as heparin, is $1 billion annually. Thrombosis-related illnesses afflict about 500,000 people per year inNorth America and kill as many as 30 percent.

The collaboration with Warner-Lambert, Lennon said, isbased on BioChem Pharma's discovery of a class ofcompounds that are designed to inhibit thrombin, anenzyme involved in blood coagulation.

Among the anticipated advantages of BioChem Pharma'scompounds are their oral administration and potentiallack of side effects. However, Lennon said BioChemPharma still is years away from taking a compound intoclinical trials.

BioChem's Pharma's lead product is the drug, 3TC,which is being developed for AIDS in collaboration withLondon-based Glaxo Welcome plc. Glaxo has filed forapproval of 3TC in the U.S. and Canada as a combinationtherapy with AZT. n

-- Charles Craig

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