Steritech Inc., a privately-held company developing blooddecontamination products, will receive $3.4 million over five yearsfrom two research grants awarded by the National Institutes ofHealth (NIH).

The grants, distributed by the NIH's National Heart, Lung and BloodInstitute, are part of a program aimed at developing methods forprotecting blood supplies against contaminants such as HIV.

Stephen Isaacs, president of the Concord, Calif.-based company, saidSteritech will use the funds in two development programs; one forcompounds to decontaminate red blood cells and the other forproducts to photochemically inactivate viruses in plasma andrecombinant protein solutions.

"Both programs are fairly far along," Isaacs said. "We expect tobegin clinical trials between late 1995 and early 1996 in the plasmadecontamination product. For the red blood cell product, we expectto begin clinical trials sometime in 1996."

Steritech's most advanced product is a system for decontaminationof platelets. The company in 1993 entered a collaboration withBaxter Healthcare Corp., of Deerfield, Ill., to develop a system forusing synthetic psoralen compounds to inactivate a broad spectrumof pathogens in concentrated platelets. Clinical trials are expected tobegin in the first half of 1995.

Isaacs said Steritech, founded in 1991, has raised about $20 million,not including the NIH grants. _ Charles Craig

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