Celltech Biologics plc signed agreements that total 1.5 million ($2.4million) to develop cell lines that relate to monoclonal antibodyproducts being developed by three companies.

Celltech, of Slough, England, a stand-alone subsidiary of CelltechGroup plc, reached the agreements with Zeneca Ltd., of London;Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., of Tokyo; and Ixsys Inc., of San Diego.

The biologics group has about 40 customers in various manufacturingor development arrangements, and some 30 companies that havelicensed the GS-System mammalian gene expression technology, IainRoss, Celltech Biologics' chief executive, told BioWorld.

"We're not at liberty to reveal all those names," Ross said, addingthat Wednesday's announcement was gratifying in that the dealscould be publicized, and because of the international nature of them.

For Zeneca, Chugai and Ixsys, Celltech will develop cell lines usingits GS-System. "If we successfully complete it for [Zeneca], we likelywould be in a position to negotiate a manufacturing contract," Rosssaid

Celltech Biologics had sales of 14.2 million ($22.7 million) and aprofit of 2 million ($3.2 million) for the year that ended Sept. 30,1994. The company's U.K. facility, however, was shut down fourmonths as capacity was being expanded. That expansion is expectedto be finished mid-year, and a new facility being built in NewHampshire is expected to be operational in 1996. _ Jim Shrine

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