Matritech Inc. signed an agreement with Bayer Corp.'s DiagnosticsDivision for the development of a cervical cancer detection system.The agreement also gives Bayer a marketing option.

Matritech, of Cambridge, Mass., received an up-front payment andcan get development milestones, in addition to option payments androyalties. The company's technology is based on patented NuclearMatrix Protein (NMP) technology, which involves antibodies thatdetect cancer-specified NMPs.

Matritech filed a premarket approval application for its NMP-basedbladder cancer test last November, and has identified cancer-specificNMPs in prostate, colon and breast cancers as well as osteosarcoma.Partners have been brought on for the bladder product, and in Japanfor the colon and breast cancer diagnostics. The unpartnered prostatecancer product "has received the most attention of our technologies.We are in negotiations with the largest companies in our business,"said Matritech President David Corbet.

Bayer and Matritech hope to develop a diagnostic that's moreaccurate and less costly than traditional Pap smears. Matritech willstart by trying to identify, then make antibodies, for the cervicalcancer-specific NMP. Then the Bayer instrumentation would be usedto read results.

Corbet said the NMPs should be applicable to most if not all cancers._ Jim Shrine

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