The Liposome Company Inc. (TLC) announced Wednesday thatit is suspending development of its liposomal gentamicinproduct, Maitec, to focus its resources on products "with thegreatest potential to produce revenue for the company." TLCcompleted a Phase II trial of Maitec in AIDS patients withmycobacterium avium-intracellulare (MAI).

TLC of Princeton, N.J., said its decision was "based on economics,not on the quality of the product." The company said it willlook for a corporate partner to underwrite the cost of futuredevelopment of Maitec. TLC's vice president of finance andchief financial officer, Brooks Boveroux, said the companywould consider any partnership arrangement, either licensingMaitec or continuing to develop it with a partner's financialbacking.

TLC (NASDAQ:LIPO) is analyzing the Maitec Phase II trial data.Although the company has not released the results, Boverouxsaid they were encouraging.

In a Phase I/II study, Maitec relieved the symptoms of MAI,particularly night sweats, in 10 of 21 patients. TLC reportedresults of the trial in 1991 (see BioWorld, June 20, 1991). Theliposomal form of gentamicin is able to penetrate macrophages,and once inside, the liposome membrane breaks down andreleases the antibiotic.

TLC will now focus on its three other products in clinicaldevelopment. Its amphotericin B lipid complex (ABLC) ispending approval in Europe and is in Phase II/III studies inthe U.S. for treatment of systemic fungal infections and inPhase III trails in South Africa in AIDS patients withcryptococcal meningitis. TLC D-99 will enter Phase III trials fortreatment of metastatic breast cancer. TLC-53 is in Phase I/IItrials for the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndromein the U.S. and in Phase I trials for systemic inflammatoryresponse syndrome in Europe.

TLC's stock closed at $6.63 a share on Wednesday, up 13 cents.

-- Brenda Sandburg News Editor

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