Applied Microbiology has signed its second agreement with a Merck &Co. subsidiary to attempt to develop the former's lead product,Ambicin, into a marketable drug.The alliance, announced this week, is with Calgon Vestal LaboratoriesInc., of St. Louis, to conduct trials of Ambicin for use as adermatological product. The active ingredient in Ambicin is nisin, anaturally occurring polypetide antibiotic against certain streptococciand other bacteria.Donald Radcliff, a spokesman for Applied Microbiology, would notdiscuss details of the agreement. He said Applied Microbiology willsupply Calgon Vestal with Ambicin and will receive royalties on anysales. Calgon will be responsible for conducting trials for regulatoryapproval as well as manufacturing, marketing and distributing thefinished product. Applied Microbiology also will receive variousmilestone development payments.Applied Microbiology, of New York, has a similar deal withAstra/Merck, a New York-based subsidiary of Merck & Co., todevelop an application of Ambicin for the treatment of helicobacterpylori bacterium, which has been linked to peptic ulcers.Calgon will be using Ambicin in an attempt to develop products to treata broad range of skin diseases, including staphylococcus, acne andwound infections.Neither agreement with the Merck subsidiaries has progressed tohuman clinical trials.Applied Microbiology also has an agreement with SmithKlineBeecham to develop Ambicin for oral antimicrobial products, such astoothpaste and mouthwash.The nisin antibiotic already is marketed by Applied Microbiology as afood preservative under the name Nisaplin. _ Charles Craig

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