The Du Pont Merck Pharmaceutical Co. of Wilmington, Del., saidTuesday that it received U.S. marketing approval for I.V.Persantine (dipyridamole USP) to simulate the physiologicaleffect of exercise for testing heart disease patients.

Du Pont Merck Pharmaceutical Co. was formed on Jan. 1 as ajoint venture of Du Pont and Merck & Co. Inc.

Du Pont Merck anticipates that the drug will be used to treat500,000 patients annually and represents a market of $20million to $30 million a year, according to Joseph Mollica, DuPont Merck's president and chief executive officer. The drugwill be available in February.

Persantine is intended for use with thallium, aradiopharmaceutical agent that is injected into the bloodstream and is used with medical imaging equipment to producepictures of cardiac blood flow. Du Pont Merck is the leading U.S.supplier of thallium.

Du Pont Merck received Food and Drug Administrationmarketing approval in December for a second injectable cardiacimaging product called Cardiolite. Du Pont Merck will startshipping Cardiolite, which has been sold in Europe since 1987,to U.S. suppliers in March.

The FDA also approved this month Zofran Injection, developedby Glaxo Inc. of Research Triangle Park, N.C. It is a receptorblocker that helps prevent nausea and vomiting in cancerpatients receiving chemotherapy. Zofran Injection enters aestimated annual market of $300 million, according to a Glaxomanager. -- Rachel Nowak

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