ArQule Inc., a privately held start-up company in Massachusetts,signed its first major corporate deal with Sweden-based PharmaciaBiotech for a potential $30 million over the next several years tosynthesize biomolecules for use in bioprocessing and research.

Seth Harrison, ArQule's president and CEO, said specific terms ofthe agreement were not disclosed, but added that a significant portionof the $30 million will be paid up-front for access to his company'stechnology and for research and development costs. Some incomefrom the deal includes milestone payments and royalties based onanticipated product sales.

Harrison said the collaboration involves applying ArQule'scombinatorial chemistry to Pharmacia'sseparations technologies.

The agreement, Harrison added, does not involve making potentialtherapeutic compounds.

"What this does is validate our strategy of leveraging our technologyin multiple market places," Harrison said. He added that the Bedford,Mass.-based company, founded in 1993, expects to sign a drugdiscovery partnership in the next few months.

The deal with Pharmacia also gives ArQule a potential near-termsource of royalty income to support its long-term goals of developingpharmaceutical products.

ArQule's technology involves using non-peptide, non-nucleotidemolecular building blocks to generate potential drug compounds.(See BioWorld Today, Feb. 8, 1995, p. 1.)

For example, Harrison said, "You start out with knowledge of abinding site and assemble molecules to create a ligand to bind to theright place and then you use that ligand as a template molecule tocreate a mini-combinatorial library."

The technology, he added, can be applied outside drug discovery for"anything where there's a molecular recognition event." Beyond drugdiscovery and separations, ArQule's approach has applications fordrug delivery and diagnostics.

A Pharmacia spokeswoman said the company will attempt to applyArQule's technology to four areas of Pharmacia's business:chromatography separation media, electrophoresis and membrane-based products and biochemicals and reagents for life scienceresearch. n

-- Charles Craig

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