Diatech Inc. received $10 million from HafslundNycomed AS as an initial investment in a collaboration todevelop and market Diatech's peptide-based cell-receptorimaging agents.

Hafslund Nycomed, of Oslo, Norway, is the world'slargest contract media imaging company. It gained a five-year option to exclusive licenses for five diagnosticpeptides in Europe and the Middle East, as well as co-promotion rights in the U.S.

Diatech, of Londonberry, N.H., also will get researchsupport, an option fee for each product taken by thepartner, milestone payments and a royalty on sales.

All five of the products covered by the agreement are inhuman clinical testing, with the lead agent being a deepvein thrombosis product in Phase III trials. The otherproducts are diagnostics for neuroendicrine tumors,pulmonary embolism, atherosclerotic plaque andinfections of unknown origin.

Diatech's focus is on the development of syntheticallyproduced peptides, labeled with technetium-99m, thatattach themselves to specific receptors.

"This is somewhat of a landmark in that a company thathas been in the imaging business a long time is making itsentry into nuclear medicine through our technology," saidRon Kinder, Diatech's executive vice president. "We feelthis technology has an opportunity to breathe new lifeinto the nuclear medicine industry," he said, adding it isdominated by a few companies that offer little in the wayof new products.

Most current diagnostics, Kinder said, look at structuralchanges. Diatech's products are intended to look atfunctional imaging, which could allow for earlierdetection and management of a disease. n

-- Jim Shrine

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