Chiron Corp. said Friday that it is in the process of filing aproduct license application for BetaSeron beta interferon totreat multiple sclerosis.

The Emeryville, Calif., company (NASDAQ:CHIR) willmanufacture the drug and receive a manufacturing paymentand royalties on sales by Berlex Laboratories, the U.S.subsidiary of Schering AG that will market the drug.

Chiron is expanding its manufacturing capacity in anticipationof product approval in late 1993 or early 1994, said spokesmanLarry Kurtz.

Chiron and Berlex haven't revealed the exact label they'rerequesting. But Kurtz said that if the drug is approved, patientswould go onto BetaSeron therapy rather than a single-doseregimen. The drug, whose mode of action isn't fully understood,would be useful for treating symptoms of MS, Kurtz said.

BetaSeron was initially developed as a joint venture betweenCetus Corp. and Shell Chemical. Shell then founded TritonBiosciences Inc., and it became a Cetus-Triton joint venture.Last year, Triton was sold to Schering AG, and the drug becamepart of its Berlex subsidiary. Chiron acquired its share of theventure when it merged with Cetus last year and restructuredthe joint venture with Berlex.

The company's shares rose $1.75 to $55 on Friday after MerrillLynch analyst Stuart Weisbrod made Chiron a "long view 1selection," saying the company has the greatest earningsmomentum in the biotech group throughout the 1990s. Heanticipates earnings per share of $1.45 in 1993, rising to morethan $8 by 1996.

Weisbrod also noted the launch this week of Proleukininterleukin-2, with initial wholesaler stocking aboveexpectations at about $4 million.

-- Karen Bernstein BioWorld Staff

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