Cor Therapeutics Inc. announced Wednesday that it is teamingwith Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp. to expand Cor's researchprogram on the thrombin receptor, a protein implicated in keycellular events. Cor will receive up to $40-50 million inresearch and milestone payments and an equity investment,the company's chief executive officer, Vaughn Kailian, toldBioWorld.

The goal of the initial three-year collaboration is to discoverpeptide and small molecule agonists and antagonists of thethrombin receptor. Cor said drugs targeted to the thrombinreceptor have potential applications in acute and chronicindications in cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, anginaand acute myocardial infarction, and in non-cardiovasculardiseases such as osteoporosis, central nervous system disordersand wound healing.

Cor (NASDAQ:CORR) of South San Francisco, Calif., has severalthrombin receptors in preclinical trials for restenosis andarterial thrombosis.

Under the agreement, Cor and Ortho each will contributeresources to the joint research program. Kailian said that oncecompounds are selected, Cor will assume primary responsibilityfor developing and marketing any cardiovascular products inNorth America, Europe and Japan, while Ortho will take thelead for development and marketing of products for non-cardiovascular uses.

The companies may share equally the development costs andworldwide profits or losses of co-developed products, andparticipate in the commercialization of co-developed products.Cor said if either party decides not to participate in thedevelopment of a product under the collaboration, that partywould receive royalties based on product sales.

Ortho has the option to extend the agreement for an additionaltwo years. As part of the agreement, Cor said that over the next12 months it "has the right, and in some circumstances theobligation," to sell to Ortho parent, Johnson & JohnsonDevelopment Corp., newly issued common stock at fair marketvalue for an aggregate purchase price of $8 million. If Orthoextends the agreement, it may purchase an additional $4million worth of stock.

This is Cor's second agreement with a major pharmaceuticalcompany. In 1991 it entered a four-year collaboration with EliLilly and Co. to develop cardiovascular products based onplatelet aggregation inhibitors. That agreement specificallyexcludes Cor's lead compound, Integrelin, to which Lillyoriginally had the right of first refusal for productdevelopment.

Cor also has a collaborative agreement with Kyowa HakkoKogyo Co. Ltd. of Tokyo for discovery and development of smallmolecule pharmaceuticals for treating restenosis followingangioplasty.

Cor's stock was up 50 cents a share on Wedneday, closing at$13.

-- Brenda Sandburg News Editor

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