AutoImmune Inc. and Gene Pharming Europe B.V. entered into aresearch project to develop human collagen for the treatment ofrheumatoid arthritis.

Gene Pharming, of Leiden, the Netherlands, will produce humancollagen from the milk of transgenic animals. AutoImmune Inc., ofLexington, Mass., then will conduct preclinical tests in animalmodels of the disease.

No money is involved in the project. But if the early results lookpromising, the companies would discuss a more-extensive collaboration for the development of recombinant humancollagen for the oral treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

"This collaboration reflects AutoImmune's long-term strategic goalof developing second-generation products with recombinant humanproteins," said Robert Bishop, AutoImmune's president and CEO.

AutoImmune's most advanced products are Myoral, derived frombovine myelin, for which enrollment of more than 500 patients in aPhase III multiple sclerosis trial is complete; and Colloral, made fromchicken collagen. Results of a Phase II trial of Colloral are expectedwithin 30 days, Jo Ann Wallace, the company's vice president,corporate development, said Monday.

AutoImmune's stock (NASDAQ:AIMM) gained $1.13 per share afterMonday's announcement. It was unchanged Tuesday at $12.88. _Jim Shrine

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