BioChem Pharma Inc. and Glaxo Canada Inc. will focus ondeveloping new anti-viral compounds for treatment of suchillnesses as herpes, hepatitis C and cytomegalovirus under anextension to their 1990 agreement.

BioChem Pharma (NASDAQ:BCHXF) of Laval, Quebec, announcedthat the two companies have signed a letter of intent to extendtheir agreement until Dec. 31, 1996. Jean-Yves Duthel,BioChem's vice president of public relations, said the companyhas received milestone payments from Glaxo of US$2.2 million(C$3 million) per year for five years.

Under the original agreement, BioChem has brought its anti-AIDS compound 3TC into clinicals and discovered that thecompound was effective in another formulation (calledLamivudine) against hepatitis B. BioChem has two otheragreements with Glaxo Canada, a 1992 agreement fordevelopment of cancer therapeutics and a 1990 50/50 jointventure, Glaxo BioChem Inc., for development of anti-viral andcancer compounds. Glaxo owns 17 percent of BioChem.

BioChem also noted that a shareholders' agreement betweenGlaxo Canada and members of BioChem's management will beterminated on May 6. Duthel said the agreement specified thatthe shareholders would not buy more than 24 percent ofBioChem and that partners would have first rights to refuse ifsomeone wanted to sell their shares. -- Brenda Sandburg

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