KIRYAT ONO, Israel - Omrix Biopharmaceuticals Ltd., a five-year-old Israeli company, has cornered the immunoglobulin market in Israel, bringing in, with its other blood product sales in Israel and abroad, $20 million in 1999 sales.

The company is pinning its hopes on Quixil, its own biological glue, patented by Omrix worldwide and being marketed in Israel, South America and the UK. This proprietary product was registered most recently in the UK and it is anticipated that by the end of the year under a mutual recognition procedure this approval will open up the market throughout the European Union.

"The company is working hard to receive U.S. FDA approval for marketing, which is anticipated during 2001 and will allow us to become a much more important player in the commercial glue market," said Omrix General Manager Nissim Mashiach.

The glue, based on natural fibrin-based coagulation processes, was developed at the company's R&D center in the Ness Ziona Science Park together with Uri Martinowitz, who heads the Israel National Center for Hemophilia, at Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer, where the company's Plasma Fractionation Institute is located.

Omrix's glue is different from other glues, including that of the market leader, Tissel, made by the American giant Baxter International Inc., which holds about 70 percent of the estimated $800 million world market.

"We see real growth in the market for Quixil, which out-performs the main contender," Mashiach said.

Most important, this solely human fibrin sealant (made from human plasma, free of bovine protein) is completely transparent, while other biological glues are opaque, so the surgeon can monitor the results of application. Like all others, it has to be kept at temperatures of minus-30 degrees Celsius, but Quixil is delivered via a double-headed syringe spray, which mixes as it delivers, and needs no more than a few minutes between the time to decide upon its use and the actual application.

Quixil forms a film over the hemorrhaging tissues. The Israeli Ministry of Health approved this glue to facilitate hemostasis and to reduce post-operative bleeding when other surgical mechanical methods are inappropriate or fail, such as during liver surgery, liver resection, and knee and hip replacement.

"More than 7,000 surgical operations using Quixil have taught us unequivocally that operation time can be reduced, as well as the need for blood transfusions. Also, risk of exposure to various contaminants is reduced during the surgery and post-operative, expediting recovery, preventing complications and shortening hospitalization time," Mashiach said, adding, "In many cases, this glue has simply saved lives.

"We are now developing a glue that is stable at room temperature, so that it could be accessible and available to every nurse and paramedic," he said. "In the future, we see this product crossing the limits out of the operating room in order to be used for trauma applications, such as emergency bandaging, and also as a slow-release, natural platform for drugs in targeted areas, such as antibiotics or for chemotherapy."

In 1998, the company raised $20 million in a private round of financing, and intends to raise more this year through another private round.

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