OR AKIVA, Israel ¿ Israeli Dexxon Pharmaceutics Ltd. is purchasing Perio Products Ltd., of Jerusalem, from ICL-Israel Chemicals Ltd., Israel¿s largest chemicals group, in a deal that values the company at $30 million to $35 million.

ICL, with an 85 percent stake in Perio, and Deg, a German investment bank holding the balance of Perio shares, signed a declaration of intent for the sale of their shares, Amiram Fleisher, ICL spokesperson, told BioWorld International.

Perio Products¿ researchers and founders from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem developed a controlled-release drug-delivery system incorporated into a slow biodegradable ¿periodontal chip¿ that is inserted between the tooth and the gum to prevent dental decay and gum disease.

The medication is delay-released, and using the chip can save the patient the need for a gum operation,¿ said Stanley Fass, president of Or Akiva-based Perio.

Perio¿s controlled-release product was approved for marketing by the U.S. FDA late in 1998, and also in Israel and in 12 European countries. The company showed profits in 1999 at $458,000, far less than ICL¿s projection three years ago when it purchased the company and wanted Perio to go public as a company valued at $80 million.

¿Perio is far from reaching its target audience: the one in three adults suffering from gum retraction, estimated in the U.S. at 46 million people,¿ Fass said.

¿Completion of the deal is contingent on our board of director¿s approval, and due diligence results satisfactory to us,¿ said Dan Oren, head of Dexxon. Dexxon has a staff of 350, with annual sales of $50 million in chemicals, minerals and pharmaceuticals.

ICL¿s new owners, the Ofer brothers, are reorganizing the company ¿ which is based in Ramat Gan and BeerSheva ¿ including the divestiture of Perio.

On completion of the deal, ICL will post a capital gain of $24 million, while the Israel Corp., with 52% ownership of ICL, will post a proportionate share of the gain.