EPITOPE STOCK UP 33 PERCENT IN A WEEK Common stock of Epitope Inc. has risen 33 percent in the past week, following last Thursday's Food and Drug Administration approval of the Beaverton, Ore., company's EPIblot HIV-1 Western blot confirmatory test. Epitope stock (AMEX:EPT) closed at $23 on Wednesday, up from $17.25 at the close of trading last Wednesday.

Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. of Hercules, Calif., and Biotech Research Laboratories Inc. of Rockville, Md., are also licensed to sell Western blot tests, which are the most frequently used method of confirming the results of positive AIDS screening tests, said Gilbert Miller, chief financial officer at Epitope. Biotech Research last year merged with Cambridge Bioscience Corp.


Your chewing gum need no longer lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight. Columbia Laboratories Inc. of Hollywood, Fla., on Wednesday said it has received U.S. patent No. 4,992,280 for a polyvinyl acetate polymer into which flavoring agents are dispersed. Chewing gum, which normally loses its flavor within 10 minutes, retains it for several hours using the polymer, Columbia said.

The technology can also be used to deliver drugs to treat gum disease or as a delivery system for systemic drugs. Columbia hopes to license the technology for commercial use.

Columbia's major focus is on bioadhesive delivery systems for women's health care products that utilize a polycarbophil bioadhesive polymer.


Applied Microbiology Inc. of New York, announced Wednesday that it has signed a worldwide licensing agreement with Ciba Geigy AG of Switzerland for its patented Ambicin anti- microbial peptides, which will be used to treat mastitis in dairy cows. Ciba-Geigy will be responsible for development costs. Applied (NASDAQ:APLY) anticipates that Ambicin will reach the market no later than 1997.

The dairy industry is believed to spend $170 million each year on antibiotics, the only current treatment for mastitis.


The National Institutes of Health is currently reviewing applications from organizations seeking a license to develop Peptide T, a drug that may be useful in treating mental dysfunction caused by the AIDS virus.

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is believed to cause problems of concentration and memory loss in some patients. Studies that showed Peptide T to be safe also showed that people with these problems do improve when treated with the drug, said Peter Heseltine, the principal investigator for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which developed it.

The results of the NIH licensing review will be announced April 8. Among the groups seeking a license is the Integra Institute of Potomac, Md., a non-profit medical research organization.

Peptide T will be tested for effectiveness in a new study of 150 people infected with HIV, the NIMH announced this week. The new trial, being conducted at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, will compare the effectiveness of Peptide T with a placebo, and will also test the safety and efficacy of Peptide T when used with AZT, the only approved drug that fights AIDS directly. -- Rachel Nowak


Synergen Inc. of Boulder, Colo., and The Liposome Company Inc. of Princeton, N.J., separately announced on Wednesday the completion of previously announced public offerings of common stock. Synergen NASDAQ:SYGN) sold 2.5 million shares at $34.50 per share, raising gross proceeds of $86.25 million. Synergen closed Wednesday at $35.50, up 50 cents. Liposome (NASDAQ:LIPO) sold 3.5 million shares at $10.75 per share, raising gross proceeds of $37.6 million. LIPO closed at $11.88, up 13 cents.


Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. of Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday said it has purchased the restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) program of Native Plants Inc. (NPI). Terms of the purchase weren't disclosed.

The combination of Pioneer's own RFLP program with NPI's program makes it one of the most advanced in the agriculture business, said Ann Bublitz, Pioneer's manager of business development.

RFLPs are used to make genetic maps. Proteins called restriction enzymes snip DNA into fragments of varying lengths. The points at which the DNA is cut and the resulting pieces of varying lengths are called polymorphisms. These polymorphisms can be used as genetic markers.

Knowing which RFLP markers are linked to individual traits increases the ability of breeders to determine if those traits are present in new plants. Conventional identification relies on field studies of whole plants.

RFLP profiles can also be used to obtain patents and to identify proprietary germ plasm.

NPI decided to sell its RFLP program to focus on the development of environmentally compatible biochemicals, the company said.


Ecogen Inc. of Langhorne, Pa., on Wednesday said Roussel- Uclaf's board of directors had formally approved a marketing and R&D deal that will provide Ecogen with $12.73 million over the next four years. The agreement, announced in January, gives Paris-based Roussel a limited right to sell Ecogen's Bt bioinsecticide in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, China and Latin America. Ecogen (NASDAQ:EECN) retains marketing rights elsewhere, as well as worldwide manufacturing rights.

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.