Merck Frosst Canada Inc. licensed worldwide rights to a geneticallyengineered peptide used in blood-clot imaging from Bio-Cardia Corp.,a company that licensed certain products in development from Bio-Technology General Corp. (BTG).Merck Frosst, a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck & Co. Inc. ofWhitehouse Station, N.J., will develop, manufacture andcommercialize a thrombus imaging agent derived from the peptide,which will be manufactured and supplied by BTG.Leah Berkovits, BTG's director of corporate communications, toldBioWorld that good results were seen from the product in pilot studies.She said Merck Frosst is preparing filings to start clinical studies in theU.S. and Canada.If the product is successful, BTG would reacquire it from Bio-Cardia,which was formed last December as a financing vehicle for BTG, ofIselin, N.J. Bio-Cardia initially licensed seven early stage BTGproducts, while BTG retained exclusive rights to them. This product,called Imagex by BTG, is the first of those products to be licensed.Merck Frosst, of Kirkland, Quebec, will make an initial payment andmilestones, and upon commercialization BTG would supply the fibrinbinding at a markup and get a 20 percent royalty on sales, Berkovitssaid.BTG's peptide binds to the fibrin found in thrombi. When linked to aradioactive label through a process developed by Merck Frosst, itenables the imaging and detection of clots..BTG (NASDAQ: BTGC) stock closed unchanged Thursday at $2.38 ashare. _ Jim Shrine
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