With Johnson & Johnson the sixth drug maker to sign up for accessto gene sequence data bases created by Incyte Pharmaceuticals Inc.,the genomics company said Tuesday it surpassed $100 million insubscription fees.

Financial terms of the agreement with Johnson & Johnson, of NewBrunswick, N.J., were not disclosed. Like other subscribers, thepharmaceutical firm will tap into Incyte's Lifeseq (Library ofInformation for Expressed Sequences) data bases for geneticinformation to be used in drug and diagnostic development.

Denise Gilbert, chief financial officer of Palo Alto, Calif.-basedIncyte, said six subscribers will pay more than $100 million primarilyfor subscription fees, but also for access from multiple sites and forcreation of specific satellite data bases. The figure includes equityinvestments totaling $19.5 million from the first two subscribers,Pfizer Inc., of New York, and Pharmacia & Upjohn Co., ofKalamazoo, Mich.

Other subscribers are Novo Nordisk A/S, of Bagsvaerd, Denmark,Hoechst Marion Roussel, of Frankfurt, Germany, and AbbottLaboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill.

Gilbert said the Abbott agreement last month represented the largestsingle financial deal. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 21, 1995, p. 1.)

Incyte's stock (AMEX:IPI) surged $3.12 to close Tuesday at $28.12,a 12.5 percent jump. Since the Abbott announcement, Incyte hasgained 44 percent. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) ended the daydown $1.25 to $84.25.

Except for the Pfizer and Pharmacia & Upjohn collaborations, noindividual financial terms have been released. In addition to equityinvestments, Pfizer agreed to pay $15.75 million for the genesequence information and Pharmacia & Upjohn will pay $10 million.

Gilbert said the non-exclusive subscription agreements average threeyears. The deals include payments for product developmentmilestones and royalties separate from the data base access charges.

Incyte, formed in 1991, was one of the first genomics companies tosell subscriptions to its human gene sequence and expression databases.

The approximately 800,000 partial gene sequences cloned so far byIncyte represent "in excess of 50 percent of the genes in the humangenome," said Gilbert, who added that 75 percent of Incyte's genesequences are not available in public data bases.

Estimates of genes in the human genome vary widely. Researchershad fixed their top approximations at 100,000, but as Incyte and othercompanies continue sequencing and finding partial genes that numberhas been eclipsed.

"There is still a tremendous amount of information on genes andwhere and when they are expressed to be uncovered," Gilbert said.

Incyte officials have said they are targeting the top 50 drug firmsworldwide as customers for the Lifeseq data base. A combined $6billion in annual research and development expenditures by thecurrent six subscribers represent 20 percent of the total spent by the50 targeted pharmaceutical companies, Incyte officials said.

In addition to gene sequence and expression data bases, Incyte iscreating other products and services, such as a mapping data base forchromosomal location of genes. n

-- Charles Craig

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

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