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AGOURON AND SYNTEX TO COLLABORATE IN ARTHRITIS AND CANCER DRUG DISCOVERY

 SAN DIEGO, June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Agouron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ-NMS: AGPH) and Syntex Corp. (NYSE: SYN) today announced that they have established an alliance for the purpose of discovering novel drugs for treatment of arthritic diseases and invasive malignant tumors and certain other diseases.
 Syntex has agreed to provide Agouron with $8.5 million to $12 million in research funding over the next three to four years and, in addition, has purchased 155,844 newly issued shares of Agouron common stock for $19.25 per share.
 The focus of the collaborative program is the design and development of selective inhibitors of one or more members of the class of enzymes called matrix metalloproteases (MMPs). MMPs have been implicated in the degradation of connective tissue in several disease states, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. There is also evidence that MMPs play key roles in the metastasis of malignant tumors. The goal of the Agouron-Syntex collaborative program is to design and develop orally active, small molecule drugs which selectively inhibit these enzymes and halt the disease processes which they mediate.
 Under terms of the agreement, Syntex will have the exclusive worldwide right to develop and market products incorporating collaboratively discovered MMP inhibitors in defined therapeutic areas including arthritis. Agouron will have the exclusive worldwide right to develop and market collaboratively discovered MMP inhibitors in defined therapeutic areas including cancer. The two companies will pay royalties to each other based on their respective sales of such products.
 "We are extremely enthusiastic about this new alliance which links the complementary scientific strengths of both Agouron and Syntex in a powerful collaborative effort to discover breakthrough therapeutic products in areas of high strategic importance to each company," said Peter Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Agouron Pharmaceuticals Inc.
 "We believe that the competitive position of both companies will be greatly enhanced through this joint program, as compared with that of each partner proceeding separately," said Robert A. Lewis, M.D., senior vice president of Syntex Corp. and president of Syntex Discovery Research.
 Agouron Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a pioneer and leader of a technology permitting the rational design of novel synthetic drugs based upon the molecular structures of proteins which play key roles in human disease. Agouron is currently applying this technology to the design and development of drugs for treatment of cancer, AIDS and other serious diseases.
 Syntex Corp. is a multinational healthcare company that discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription medicines to treat serious human diseases in areas including pain, inflammation and immunology; neurobiology; and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. Syntex also develops, manufactures and markets animal pharmaceutical products and medical diagnostic systems.
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 /CONTACT: Peter Johnson, president and CEO, or Donna Nichols, director-corporate communications, of Agouron Pharmaceuticals, 619-622-3009; or Linda Thomas, manager-media relations of Syntex, 415-852-1321/
 (AGPH SYN)


CO: Agouron Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Syntex Corp. ST: California IN: MTC SU: JVN

LS-JL -- SD001 -- 6854 06/09/93 08:01 EDT
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Date:Jun 9, 1993
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