Agennix Inc. has advanced the production capabilities of itsrecombinant human lactoferrin to the point that the natural antibacterialprotein is commercially viable, the Houston company said Thursday.Agennix has targeted at least eight commercial applications for thelactoferrin, including eye-care solutions, personal hygiene andcosmetic products, infant formulas and dietary iron supplements, aswell as potential high-value uses in systemic antibiotic applications.The company is seeking strategic partners for the eight applications,which total "$20 billion at the wholesale price level," Roger Wyatt,president and chief executive officer of Agennix told BioWorld. "Sowe figure we can capture 5 to 10 percent ($1 billion to $2 billion) ofthat with the lactoferrin technology. We think the first products will besold in two to three years, and I think between five and 10 years, weshould have $1 billion in sales from the technology."Wyatt said that 25 mg per liter were being produced when they took itout of the lab last June. Now, by using a fermentation process thatemploys genetically modified Aspergillus organisms, production yieldsare approaching 1 gram per liter, he said."That was the point we thought it was commercially viable in a numberof applications," Wyatt said. "From here, we're in the process ofhaving discussions with strategic alliance partners for variousapplications."Wyatt said that continued improvement in the process could result inthe production of 3 to 10 grams per liter in 18 months.Agennix exercised its option to license the technology from BaylorCollege of Medicine in Houston last June when production reached 25mg per liter. It has worldwide rights to the technology. In return, thecollege got a licensing payment and royalty obligation a well as a stakein the company.

-- Jim Shrine

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