Genetics Institute Inc. acquired Repligen Corp.'s immunemodulation business, which is a research programfocusing on co-stimulatory molecules.

The companies, both of Cambridge, Mass., are notrevealing financial terms. But a Genetics Institutespokesman said the price was similar to deals hiscompany has done in the $2 million to $5 million range.

Genetics Institute has exclusive rights to any protein-based drugs that come out of the program, and has co-exclusive rights to any small molecule-based drugs.Repligen retained co-exclusive rights in small molecules,but can sell those to a third party if it chooses.

Dennis Harp, Genetics Institute's director, corporatecommunications, said Repligen and its collaborators"discovered a fundamental aspect of the immune systemthat determines whether an immune response is mountedagainst a particular antigen, or whether the immunesystem will be tolerized to that antigen."

The program focuses on the interaction between helper Tcells and other white blood cells called antigen-presentingcells. Repligen said it has discovered proteins on thesurface of antigen-presenting cells thought to deliver aco-stimulatory signal to T cells, instructing them tomount an immune response.

"We will acquire the rights and know-how to themolecules themselves and the inhibitors," Harp said, "andcombine the molecules as part of our research inimmunology to find ways to selectively turn off theimmune system or induce an immune response against aparticular antigen." _ Jim Shrine

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