Microbiological Associates (MA) has spun off a subsidiary,Magenta Corp., to produce viral vectors on a large-scale basisfor Phase I and II clinical trials.

Based in Rockville, Md., Microbiological Associates providesbiological safety testing services such as characterization of celllines and validation of purification processes. Magenta's vicepresident of marketing and sales, Brandon Price, said MAproduces 30 different kinds of viruses and retroviruses for usein its testing services.

Price explained that since MA's business is in testing ratherthan production, it decided to form Magenta for large-scaleproduction. He added that Magenta envisions forming scientificcollaborations with other companies that are working ondifferent technologies, such as antibody-targeted or liposomalsystems. Magenta, therefore, will not be restricted to viralproduction.

The company does not intend to develop its own gene therapyproducts. Price said it is unique in that it provides a goodmanufacturing practice (GMP) service without qualification. Hesaid other virus production companies generally have a co-development agreement with the company for which they areproducing vectors. -- Brenda Sandburg

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