Armour Pharmaceutical Co. and Behringwerke AG said Thursdaythey are creating a joint venture in the field of plasma proteins. Themove is subject to regulatory approvals in the U.S. and Europe.

"We're both contributing all the assets of our plasma operations tothe joint venture," said Beth Leahy, Armour's director of publicaffairs. "We're creating a worldwide company that is greater than thesum of its parts."

Armour and parent company Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Inc. are ofCollegeville, Pa. Behringwerke is a subsidiary of Germany-basedHoechst AG. The proposed joint venture would have annual sales ofabout $1.1 billion, with each company contributing roughly half,Leahy told BioWorld.

The joint venture would have five therapeutic categories:immunoglobulins, plasma substitutes, hemostyptics, wound healingand clot-inhibitor treatments. Armour markets products in theimmunoglobulin, substitutes and hemostyptic areas, whileBehringwerke has wound-healing, inhibitor and some substitute products.

One of the first orders of business, Leahy said, would be for eachpartner to register the other's products in its territories. Armour has alarger presence in the U.S. while Behringwerke is stronger in Europeand Japan.

Leahy said the combined company, while having no products in theclinic, would have more resources available for research anddevelopment. Some early areas of research likely would be inrecombinant plasma substitutes, and in gene therapy technologies forhemophilia A and B, she said, adding that the joint venture alsowould look to find other therapeutic uses for plasma proteins._ JimShrine

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