Vimrx Pharmaceuticals Inc. and its majority-owned subsidiary, Nexell Therapeutics Inc., are changing their marketing agreement with Baxter Healthcare Corp. in a move that gives Nexell responsibility for sales and marketing of the Isolex cell separation systems.

In addition, Baxter is providing Vimrx/Nexell with either a $20 million line of credit or financial support when the smaller company completes a private placement. Nexell was formed in June 1997, through the combination of Baxter and Vimrx technologies.

Vimrx, of Wilmington, Del., in January said it was acquiring Baxter¿s minority interest in Nexell and consolidating all its operations into the Irvine, Calif., subsidiary. That action was designed to simplify the corporate structure and make the company easier for investors to understand, since the Vimrx focus already was cell therapy. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 19, 1999, p. 1.)

As part of the new arrangement, some Baxter marketing employees will be offered positions with Nexell.

¿We view this as the final evolution of Nexell into a fully integrated, independently operated cell therapy company,¿ said Dian Griesel, a spokeswoman for Vimrx. ¿We¿re really happy to have the support of Baxter as an equity shareholder, and as a provider of contract manufacturing, physical distribution, instrument placement and service, as well as other related functions under this new services agreement. This gives us the opportunity to really optimize this platform.¿

The Isolex system is used to separate various types of cells from peripheral blood. Vimrx¿s revenues from sales of Isolex and ancillary products in Europe in the first quarter were $4.3 million. The product was deemed approvable by the FDA in January pending additional information, which the company said it has provided.

Baxter, of Deerfield, Ill., owned about 40 percent of Vimrx on a fully diluted basis after taking into account future commitments and the consolidation of Vimrx into Nexell. It was not disclosed how the restructured marketing agreement or potential additional equity investment would change that position.

The complete move of Vimrx into Nexell is expected to take place late this month, after a May 25 vote by shareholders. Vimrx¿s stock (NASDAQ:VMRX) gained 6.25 cents Monday to close at $1.625. ¿ Jim Shrine

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