Celltech Group plc will manufacture a Hoffmann-La Roche Inc.humanized monoclonal antibody under a series of contractsthat is expected to net sales for Celltech of up to U.S. $45million (30 million pounds). In addition, Roche is investing $7.5million (five million pounds) in Celltech through the purchaseof convertible preference shares.

Celltech, of Slough, Berkshire, U.K., will manufacture themonoclonal for four years using its first generation cell line andalso transfer technology for a second generation manufacturingprocess to Roche, the company announced. Celltech chiefexecutive Peter Fellner told BioWorld that the secondgeneration cell line has a higher productivity level ofantibodies. It is expected to be up and running sometime in1994.

Roche licensed the monoclonal antibody from Protein DesignLabs Inc. in 1989. The monoclonal is directed against the Tacprotein, which is the receptor for interleukin-2. It is currentlyin Phase II testing for treatment of graft versus host disease toreduce immunological activity. Roche also plans to pursue itsuse in certain cancers, particularly leukemia and lymphomacancers, and in rheumatoid arthritis.

Celltech has several other agreements with pharmaceuticalfirms that relate to research and development of its ownproprietary products. These include a 1992 agreement withSchering-Plough for the development and marketing of anumber of anti-cytokine antibodies, a 1992 agreement withBayer AG covering monoclonal antibodies directed againsttumor necrosis factor to treat septic shock, and a 1991agreement with American Cyanamid covering a series ofhumanized monoclonal antibodies linked to cytotoxic agents inthe cancer field.

Privately held Celltech seeks to list its shares on the LondonStock Exchange during the next six months, Fellner said.

-- Brenda Sandburg News Editor

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