Block Drug Co. Inc. and Chemex Pharmaceuticals Inc. haveformed a $17 million joint venture to develop and marketproducts for dermatological, oral and gastrointestinalapplications.

The companies will spend up to $17 million in the first fiveyears to develop five products. Amlexanox, a treatment forcanker sores, is in Phase II clinical trials. The other productsare EPCK to treat skin inflammation; methotrezate and a PAFantagonist for psoriasis; and cytarabine, an anti-viral, to treatgenital warts.

Chemex (NASDAQ:CHMX), which develops small molecules totreat dermatologic diseases and diseases of the oral cavity,will be responsible for research and development. Block(NASDAQ:BLOCA) will be responsible for manufacturing andmarketing. The companies will share profits from the venture.

Jersey City, N.J.-based Block will also market Chemex's leadcompound, Actinex, under the terms of an earlier agreement.Chemex expects the Food and Drug Administration to approveby December Actinex to treat pre-malignant skin lesions, saidHerbert McDade, Chemex's chief executive officer.

As a result of the new agreement with Block, Chemex willrelocate from Denver to the New York metropolitan area. --Karen Bernstein

-- Karen Bernstein BioWorld Staff

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