Glaxo Canada, a subsidiary of Glaxo Holdings plc, on Mondayexercised its option to purchase about 3.9 million commonshares of BioChem Pharma Inc. at an exercise price of C$7.80(US$6.01) per share for a total of C$30.3 million (US$23.6million).

Glaxo was granted the option in January 1991 underagreements between the companies covering the research anddevelopment of compounds discovered by BioChem for thetreatment of viral diseases and cancer, BioChem said. Glaxo hasnow invested about C$72 million (US$56.16 million) in theLaval, Quebec, company, and Glaxo owns about 17 percent ofBioChem's common shares (NASDAQ:BCHXF).

BioChem's stock closed Monday at $15.50, off 38 cents a share.

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