Interneuron Soars After Inking Warner-Lambert Deal

Warner-Lambert will develop and distribute Interneuron's anti-anxiety drug, pagoclone.
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Shares of

Interneuron Pharmaceutical

(IPIC)

went through the roof Monday after the company announced that

Warner-Lambert

(WLA)

had signed a licensing agreement to develop and distribute Interneuron's anti-anxiety drug, pagoclone.

Interneuron was up 2, or 54%, at 6 1/2, above its 52-week high of 8 3/4, reached earlier Monday. Warner-Lambert edged ahead 1, or 1%, to 86 1/8. (Interneuron ended up 2 7/16, or 55%, to 6 7/8, while Warner-Lambert settled up 1, or 1%, to 86 1/8.)

Under the terms of the deal, Warner-Lambert will pay Interneuron $14.75 million outright, up to $73.75 million following procedural developments and regulatory approvals and royalties on sales in the U.S. and abroad.

Interneuron will turn a portion of the payments over to

Aventis S.A.

(AVE)

under the terms of a previous agreement.

Interneuron said clinical trials to test pagoclone's effect on panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder are to begin in 2000.

Elsewhere in health care-related stocks, issues were mixed. But some shares stood out as big gainers. For instance, several companies trying to map the human genome continued to climb after recent strong run-ups in the sector.

Celera Genomics

(CRA)

continued to soar, rising 16, or 11%, to a new high of 160, off its 52-week high of 175, hit earlier Monday.

Smaller players also rose sharply.

Gene Logic

(GLGC)

was up 5 1/8, or 21%, at 30 1/8 and

Interleukin

(ILGN)

gained 1 3/8, or 26%, at 6 3/4.

"There's speculation about the industry -- not so much on the valuations but people are trying to pick the winners for the next five years," said Eric Schmidt, a biotechnology analyst at

SG Cowen Securities

.

Renex

.

(RENX)

, which provides kidney dialysis services, also surged. It gained 1 13/16, or 28%, to 8 3/8.

Some traders attributed the rises in some of the small-cap health care stocks to a slew of positive publicity over developments in the industry. "There's been a lot of happy talk about how good high-tech has been for health care," said Dave Briggs, head of the trading desk at

Federated Investors

.