Imr Corp.'s Prosorba columns will be distributed in the U.S. andCanada exclusively by Biotech North America, Baxter HealthcareCorp.'s biotechnology group, the companies announced Tuesday.

Over the first three years of the 10-year exclusive distributionagreement, Baxter has committed to sell a minimum of $50 millionworth of the product.

Prosorba, a disposable filter that uses protein A to remove circulatingimmune complexes from the bloodstream, was approved by FDA in1987 for the treatment of immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP),an immune-related bleeding disorder. Imr of Seattle, is awaitingFDA approval for classical thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura(TTP), as well as chemotherapy-induced TTP/hemolytic uremicsyndrome (C-TTP/HUS) indications.

If Prosorba is approved for additional indications, Imr's vicepresident and chief administrative officer, Lois Yoshida, toldBioWorld, the company will negotiate new sales minimums. Prosorbais also under development for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis,other autoimmune diseases and certain types of cancer.

Imr previously sold the column itself and will continue to sell itoutside the U.S. and Canada, but Yoshida noted that these salesrepresent only about 5 percent of total Prosorba distribution.

Imr also released its fourth-quarter 1993 financial results onTuesday (see Page 4). The company reported net Prosorba sales of$930,000 for the quarter. For 1993, net Prosorba sales totaled $5.4million.

Biotech North America, Baxter's biotechnology group, consists of theFenwal Division (specializing in blood collection, separation,processing and storage); the Hyland Division (coagulation, hemostasis,biopharmaceuticals); the Immunotherapy Division (extracorporealtherapies for cancer and blood-related diseases); and research unitsin gene therapy and blood substitutes.

Imr is currently developing a second-generation immunoadsorptioncolumn. The distribution agreement will allow the company to focusmore on its research and development, Yoshida said.

Imr's stock (NASDAQ:IMRE) closed at $4.13 a share on Tuesday, up38 cents.

-- By Karl A. Thiel Associate Editor

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.