G.D. Searle & Co. is restructuring its operations in Argentina to try to increase its share of Argentina's $1.12 billion pharmaceutical market.

A joint venture agreement with Laboratorios Beta SA, ranked fifth in that market, will give Searle quicker approval of new drugs and increased sales, according to a Searle spokesman. Under the deal, 100 percent of the stock of

Searle's subsidiary Laboratorios EXA SA was transfered to Laboratorios Beta SA.Beta has also been licensed the full line of Searle products that are manufactured at the pharmaceutical plant located in the province of LaRioja, Argentina, following good manufacturing standards at U.S. levels.

Michael Winkel, Searle's senior vice president, international operations, said that Searle has not been satisfied with the growth and profitability of its business in Argentina.

He noted that through the basic agreement with Beta, several goals should be reached, including substantial increase in efficiency through lowering of operating costs; significant increase in the sales of Searle products through aggressive and ethical marketing by Beta; greater future introductions of new

Searle R&D products; and use of Beta's advanced phases of development of various pharmaceutical products based on its own application technology.

Searle is exploring the introduction of a number of these drugs outside Argentina including the major world pharmaceutical markets.

Searle is a research-based company that develops, manufactures, markets and distributes pharmaceutical products worldwide.