Cortecs International Ltd. and Boehringer Mannheim-Diagnostics havesigned an agreement by which Boehringer will field-test animmunoassay developed by Cortecs to detect antibodies toHelicobacter pylori (H. pylori), an infection associated with pepticulcers and possibly with gastric cancer.London-based Cortecs (NASDAQ:DLVRY) has tested the product,Helisal serum, in about 100 patients. Boehringer Mannheim ofWaldhof, Germany, will expand the scope of the clinical trials bytesting the assay in 4,000 patients in Japan and Europe. The companiesdo not plan trials in the U.S. in the near future, according to GlenTravers, Cortecs' chairman and chief executive officer.Helisal serum is a laboratory-based enzyme-linked immunosorbentassay (ELISA) for the detection of antibodies to H. pylori in bloodserum. It was developed jointly by Cortecs Diagnostics in the UnitedKingdom and by Cortecs' subsidiary, the Australian Institute ofMucosal Immunology (AIMI).Cortecs has teamed with AB Astra, a Swedish pharmaceutical companythat manufactures the anti-ulcer drug Losec, to begin trials of a saliva-based diagnostic test for the presence of H. pylori. The saliva-based testmay be administered in a doctor's office. Trials are expected to begin inthe next few months, Travers said. - Philippa Maister
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