Texas Biotechnology Corp. announced Tuesday it will pay 1.6 millionshares of stock to acquire San Diego-based ImmunoPharmaceutics Inc.The agreement also includes an additional payment of 2.4 millionshares of Texas Biotechnology stock based on ImmunoPharmaceutics'ability to advance development of its endothelin A antagonist andTexas Biotechnology's vascular cell adhesion molecule program. Thefinal closing is expected in 30 days and is subject to approval of thecompanies' shareholders.With the announcement of the acquisition agreement, the price ofTexas Biotechnology stock (AMEX:TXBE) dropped 25 cents Tuesday,closing at $4.75.Joseph Welch, Texas Biotechnology's vice president of businessdevelopment, said that with the combination of the two companies, heexpects the company will be able to file an investigational new drugapplication with the FDA for ImmunoPharmaceutics' endothelin Aantagonist and begin clinical trials as early as next year.ImmunoPharmaceutics president and CEO Edward T. Maggio said theacquisition by Texas Biotechnology gives privately-heldImmunoPharmaceutics the technological support to move beyond thepreclinical development stage for applications of its endothelin receptorantagonists. Welch noted that ImmunoPharmaceutics possesses theexpertise in rational drug design, computational chemistry andmolecular modeling that will give Texas Biotechnology the boost it hasneeded to advance its Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule program .Maggio said ImmunoPharmaceutics and Texas Biotechnologycompliment each other not only in the areas of technology and productdevelopment, but also management. Both companies are involved indeveloping compounds to treat diseases in the cardiovascualr andinflammation areas.According to Welch, ImmunoPharmaceutics will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Texas Biotechnology. Maggio will continue ashead of ImmunoPharmaceutics and it will remain headquartered in SanDiego. In addition, two ImmunoPharmaceutics directors will becomemembers of Texas Biotechnology's board. Welch said the addition ofImmunoPharmaceutics makes Texas Biotechnology one of the largerrational design companies in the industry and gives it the opportunityto expand its cardiovascular and inflammation programs.ImmunoPharmaceutics has used rational drug design to develop orallyactive small molecule therapeutics. Its endothelin receptor antagonistshave indications in the cardiovascular, renal, central nervous systemand pulmonary areas. Endothelin, a small protein, is a potentvasoconstrictor that exacerbates clinical responses, such as restenosisfollowing balloon angioplasty and hypertension in organ transplantpatients.Welch said the work ImmunoPharmaceutics has been doing fits hand-in-hand with the direction of Texas Biotechnology's research. Maggioagreed, saying the companies together have a tremendous synergyalong with a compatible corporate culture. n

-- Charles Craig

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