Bioject Inc. on Thursday said it has entered into a collaborationwith Eli Lilly and Co. to develop and market products based onBioject's Biojector needle-free drug injection system.

The licensing and supply agreement includes the acquisition byLilly of $4 million of Bioject common stock (NASDAQ:BJCTF),representing 7 percent of outstanding shares, in addition tofinancial support of development efforts. Prior to theagreement, Bioject has 8.6 million shares outstanding.

The stock jumped $1.56, or about 34 percent, to $6.13.

The companies are not disclosing what drug is involved, butBioject said the collaboration is expected to continue for severalyears. The program will begin during the second quarter atBioject's headquarters in Portland, Ore.

The company has been selling its gas-powered injectors, whichpush drugs directly into the skin without a needle, since 1990.

In August 1991, Bioject entered a preliminary agreement tosell and distribute the system to members of VoluntaryHospitals of America Inc., an alliance of more than 660 not-for-profit hospitals. A final agreement is on hold, said Biojectspokesman Tim Justice, pending introduction this fall of anewer Biojector model that can deliver 1 ml. of drug. Thecurrent model's capacity is 0.5 ml. The company hopes for $3million in sales annually from a final contract.

Bioject said it is continuing discussions with LederleLaboratories, announced last July, for use of the system with anundisclosed Lederle product.

-- Roberta Friedman, Ph.D. Special to BioWorld

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