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Millennium Extends Three Partnerships with Pharmas


CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--Millennium Pharmaceuticals announced that three of its partners have extended their strategic alliances with the company. Millennium's four-year collaboration with Pfizer, which was due to expire in December 1998, was expanded and extended for an additional two years, while a partnership with Astra will be extended for four more years. In the field of oncology, Millennium's partnership with Eli Lilly will continue an additional two years. No financial terms were disclosed.

The alliance with Pfizer, which Millennium gained through its acquisition of ChemGenics in 1997, is focused on discovery of drug leads for treating fungal infections in humans. The four-year relationship has yielded a number of targets that have advanced into drug discovery, Millennium said. As part of the two-year extension, the relationship has been expanded to create a "lead-to-target" drug discovery paradigm that expedites the identification of drug leads.

The Astra collaboration began in December 1995 and focuses on drug discovery for inflammatory respiratory diseases, including asthma, allergic rhinitis, bronchitis, emphysema, and other chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. The four-year extension is based, in part, on Millennium's successful delivery of novel respiratory inflammation drug targets to Astra and the development of Astra's target pipeline during the alliance's first phase. Efforts of the alliance during the extension will focus on moving the targets toward drug discovery and the continued discovery and validation of new targets.

In April 1996 Millennium and Lilly entered into a strategic partnership in select areas within oncology. Lilly signed an early extension of the relationship for two more years, taking it through March 2001.

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