Genzyme Corp. announced Monday that it will buy back thetwo development programs that remain under the aegis of itsNeozyme Corp. (Neozyme I) spin-off for $49 million.

Genzyme of Cambridge, Mass., will make the purchases on orbefore Dec. 21 using cash, Genzyme common stock(NASDAQ:GENZ) or a combination. Upon completion of thetransaction, Neozyme I will have no material assets other thanthe $49 million from the sale of the two programs. It has yet todetermine the disposition of these proceeds, but part or all maygo to the shareholders.

One of the programs that Genzyme is repurchasing fromNeozyme I concerns the enzymatic debriding product Vianain.Phase I/II safety and dose-escalation clinical trials havealready been completed on the use of Vianain for removing thenecrotic tissue associated with moderate to major burns; anexpanded Phase II dose and grafting trial is under way. Aswell, clinical trials on using the debriding enzyme to treat skinulcers are planned for 1994.

Neozyme I's second remaining program has been to developtechnology that would enable the separation of fetal cells froma sample of maternal blood in quantities sufficient for prenatalgenetic testing. Clinical evaluation is expected in 1994.

Neozyme I (NASDAQ:NEOZ) was formed by Genzyme in late1990 through a public offering of 2 million units at $23 each.Its purpose was to accelerate research and development on aselect group of health-care products in each of Genzyme'smajor business areas.

In July 1992 Genzyme reacquired from Neozyme the rights tothree programs for an aggregate $26 million. These includedthe recombinant thyroid-stimulating hormone Thyrogen, adirect cholesterol testing product and synthetic phospholipids.In March 1992 Genzyme acquired Neozyme's cystic fibrosisprotein replacement program for $23 million.

The Vianain and fetal cell separation programs round out theoriginal portfolio.

Genzyme's stock (NASDAQ:GENZ) lost 63 cents a share onMonday, closing at $36.63, while Neozyme I (NASDAQ:NEOZ)gained $1 a share to close at $16.25.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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