Repligen Corp. announced Tuesday that it will acquire AmiraInc., a developer of small molecules, in a deal worth about $5.4million.

Under the agreement, Repligen will issue 320,000 shares ofstock for Amira. Additional shares may be issued when clinicalmilestones are achieved. Repligen stock (NASDAQ:RGEN) closedat $16.75 on Tuesday, up 50 cents.

Both companies are focused on virology, cancer andinflammation, with Cambridge, Mass.-based Repligenemploying a biological approach and privately held Amirapursuing chemical research.

Amira's lead compound is an inhibitor of the creatine kinaseenzyme, said Walter Herlihy, Repligen's senior vice presidentof research and development. Creatine kinase and otherenzymes play a role in processes that have been implicated incancer cell growth, virus replication and the neutrophilactivation that leads to inflammation.

Amira's small molecules are orally active, inexpensive toproduce and able to cross the blood-brain barrier, Repligensaid.

Amira, which was founded in 1989, will operate as a Repligensubsidiary at its current Worcester, Mass., location. -- KarenBernstein

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.