Tularik Inc. announced Thursday that it will collaborate withMerck & Co. Inc. on the discovery and development of smallmolecule therapeutics that could prove useful in inhibitingviral transcription.

Under the multi-year research collaboration, Merck will haverights to any products developed to treat herpes simplex virus,human papilloma virus and HIV, as well as an option to buyrights from Tularik for any products developed to treatcytomegalovirus, respiratory syncytial virus or Epstein Barrvirus, said Susan Rogers, director of corporate communicationsfor Tularik of South San Francisco, Calif.

Both companies will contribute chemical and natural productlibraries for drug screening. In addition to access to Merck'sextensive chemical libraries, Tularik will benefit from Merck'ssupport in medicinal chemistry and its expertise in HIV, Rogerstold BioWorld.

Last November, Tularik announced a research collaborationwith Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. regarding theregulation of genes involved in inflammation. This partnershipmay lead to the development of therapeutics for a wide rangeof acute and chronic inflammatory conditions, includingasthma, arthritis and transplant rejection.

Rogers said Tularik hopes to form a third collaboration in 1994,possibly in cardiovascular research.

Tularik was founded in January 1992, with Genentech Inc.contributing $3.8 million in first-round financing. Exclusive ofthe collaborations with Yamanouchi and Merck, Rogers said thecompany has raised about $31 million, primarily in venturecapital, and has no urgent need to go public. -- Chuck Lenatti

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