Biocode Inc., a company that develops antibodies that can be used forproduct identification and manufacturing control, has raised $4 millionin a private equity financing from Apax Partners, a venture capital firmlocated in London.Biocode, based in Cambridge, Mass., was formed in 1989 as part ofShell Ventures, U.K. It became independent in 1992 through amanagement buyout led by Henry Blair, founder of Genzyme.Biocode's patented marking systems involve what David Phillips,president and CEO, describes as a "lock and key feature" between amarker and an antibody. The system builds on the ability of antibodiesto recognize minute concentrations of a specific chemical orcontaminant in a complex mixture. This makes them suitable forcovertly and definitively identifying virtually any bulk material orfinished product, solid or liquid, the company says.The marking system consists of an inert marker and an antibody thatdetects it. The marker is incorporated into the product in tracequantities (typically parts per billion) or is applied to the surface as aninvisible numeric code. The product can then be identified by use of arapid immunoassay format using the corresponding antibody.So far Biocode has marketed its products in the polymer, fuels,specialty chemicals and printing industries as a means of qualitycontrol and to prevent counterfeiting.However, according to Regina Edwards, Biocode's director ofmarketing, the company plans to move into the pharmaceutical area,using customized markers that are non-toxic, inert and FDA-approved.Edwards said markers for ointments would be oil-based, while those incapsules or tablets would be water-based. _ Philippa Maister
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