Gensia Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced yesterday that MarionMerrell Dow (MMD) will proceed with the development of GP-1-468-3, an analog of Gensia's lead drug, Arasine, for coronaryartery bypass surgery.

"We believe this is a strong indication of MMD's interest in thepotential of ARA (adenosine regulating agent) technology forthe treatment of chronic cardiovascular conditions," said DavidHale, chairman, president and CEO of the San Diego-basedcompany.

Arasine recently completed Phase III clinicals in the U.S.,Western Europe and Canada in patients undergoing coronaryartery bypass surgery. The drug is also in Phase II trials fornon-cardiac perioperative surgery.

MMD signed a technology option and licensing agreement withGensia in January 1990 to pursue the clinical development ofGP-1-468-3 for possible use in the treatment of chroniccardiovascular disease.

Under the agreement, MMD of Kansas City, Mo., agreed to payan undisclosed license fee to Gensia upon completion of thefinal licensing agreement, and additional payments ifdevelopment and regulatory milestones are achieved with thecompound. In return, Gensia will receive royalties on net salesif GP-1-468-3 is approved and commercialized.

Gensia's second product, the Genesa system, is expected tocomplete Phase III trials by the end of the year for use indiagnosis of coronary artery disease.

Gensia shares (NASDAQ:GNSA) closed Monday at $42.25, up 88cents.

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