Sequana Therapeutics Inc. is expected to enter its second majorcorporate alliance next month and again the private genomicscompany from La Jolla, Calif., has targeted a British partner.

Corange International Ltd. _ based in Bermuda with corporateoffices in London _ paid Sequana $2 million for an exclusive optionon a collaborative research effort to identify genes related toosteoporosis, a degenerative bone disease that affects more than 100million people worldwide.

The agreement would give Corange and its Germany-basedsubsidiary, Boehringer Mannheim GmbH, rights to developdiagnostics and drugs from the genetic discoveries.

Sequana's CEO, Kevin Kinsella, said the option expires June 30 andthe terms of the collaboration are expected to be finalized by then. Hedeclined to discuss the value of the deal to Sequana.

However, Kinsella added the collaboration would be in line withrecent financial agreements between other genomics companies andbiopharmaceutical corporations. Among those deals are Cambridge,Mass.-based Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s $70 millioncollaboration with Roche Holdings Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, in1994 and Salt Lake City-based Myriad Genetics Inc.'s $60 millionagreement with Ciba-Geigy Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, earlier thismonth.

In July 1994, Sequana negotiated its first corporate partnership withLondon-based Glaxo Holdings plc. That collaboration involvesidentifying genes linked to Type II diabetes or non-insulin dependentdiabetes mellitus. Terms of the Glaxo deal were not disclosed.

Sequana has been searching for osteoporosis genes in baboons sinceAugust 1993 under a collaboration with the Southwest Foundationfor Biomedical Research in San Antonio. In addition, the companylast May began working with the Foundation for OsteoporosisResearch and Education in Oakland, Calif., to study genetic links infamilies with osteoporosis.

Kinsella declined to describe how close his company is to identifyinggenetic mutations responsible for osteoporosis, which is considered apolygenic disease. Tracking down the genes responsible, he said,requires studying the DNA of thousands of sibling pairs. n

-- Charles Craig

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