Eli Lilly and Co. next week will begin selling ReoPro, CentocorInc.'s anti-blood clotting drug, for high risk angioplasty patients inthe U.S. and Europe.

Centocor, of Malvern, Pa., received market approval for ReoPro inDecember from the FDA and the European Union's Committee ForProprietary Medicinal Products.

The drug's marketing represents a comeback for Centocor, whichunderwent a major restructuring after Centoxin failed in sepsis trialsin January 1993. ReoPro was the company's first drug to reach themarket and was followed last month by Panorex, which wasapproved in Germany for colorectal cancer.

Under Centocor's collaboration with Lilly, the two companies willsplit profits equally on sales of ReoPro. The drug's price will be$450 for a 10 milligram vile. A Lilly spokeswoman said the averagepatient treatment involves three viles for a total of $1,350.

Lilly and Centocor said ReoPro's labeling makes it available for"nearly 30 percent" of all angioplasty patients, who number about750,000 a year in the U.S. and Europe.

The drug was approved specifically for balloon angioplasty andatherectomy patients who are at high risk of experiencing abruptclosure of the treated coronary vessel. ReoPro is used in addition todrugs such as heparin and aspirin.

Patients receive a dose of ReoPro during angioplasty and a 12-hourinfusion following the procedure. The clinical trials showedsignificant reduction in acute ischemic complications at 30 days afterthe angioplasty and at six months. ReoPro is a monoclonal antibodydesigned to inhibit platelet aggregation.

Centocor is conducting two additional Phase III trials of ReoPro, onein the U.S. and the other in Europe, to expand the drug's labeling.

Centocor (NASDAQ:CNTO) closed Thursday at $19.75, up 37cents. Lilly (NYSE:LLY) was down 25 cents to $65.62. _ CharlesCraig

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

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