MedImmune Inc. and BioTransplant Inc. on Thursdaysaid they are collaborating to enhance the potentiallysynergistic relationship of two anti-rejection drugs thecompanies are testing.

MedImmune has agreed to pay $2 million up front for anexclusive worldwide license to develop andcommercialize BTI-322, BioTransplant's anti-CD2antibody, and any future products based on BTI-322 withtwo exceptions.

MedImmune (NASDAQ:MEDI) closed down 38 centsThursday to $10.13 per share.

The alliance also will include MedImmune's anti-T-cellreceptor antibody MEDI-500 and future generations ofproducts derived from these molecules.

The deal may eventually be worth an additional $14million to privately held BioTransplant if it meetsresearch milestones specified in the agreement. It alsowill receive royalties on any sales of BTI-322, MEDI-500and future generation products.

"The agreement gives us another product to add to ourportfolio of drugs aimed at preventing transplantrejection," said Mark Kaufmann, MedImmune's managerof strategic planning and investor relations.

The alliance is a plus for MedImmune which recently hadmixed results from clinical trials for Respigam. (SeeBioWorld Today, July 20, 1995, p. 1.) Using theequivocal results from two Phase III clinical trials,MedImmune said it will submit additional data forRespigam, an immunoglobulin drug once rejected by anFDA advisory committee to treat respiratory syncytialvirus in infants.

Kaufmann added that the alliance gives MedImmune"access to experience at BioTransplant in organtransplant rejection and they get our expertise in clinicaland regulatory issues."

The two companies said they believe that BioTransplant'sBTI-322 and MedImmune's MEDI-500 may becomplementary therapies. "We expect to complete asmall pilot study to test the safety of the combinationtherapy and expect to resubmit previous clinical data tothe FDA for the combined treatment approach," saidKaufmann.

MedImmune already has CytoGam, a cytomegalovirusimmune globulin, on the market.

Not included within the scope of the agreement are kitsrelated to BioTransplant's AlloMune System for thetransplantation of human organs with reduced chronicimmune suppression and BioTransplant's XenoMuneSystem for the transplantation of porcine organs intohumans. n

-- Michele L. Robinson Washington Editor

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