North American Biologicals Inc. announced Wednesday that theEuropean Patent Office has allowed a patent on the company'sproprietary immune globulin, HIVIG, and a method ofproducing it.

This experimental immune globulin may prevent transmissionof AIDS from HIV-positive mothers to unborn infants.

NABI (NASDAQ:NBIO) obtained rights to HIVIG, including PhaseI clinical data, from Abbott Laboratories in 1992. NABI haspatents for HIVIG in Australia and New Zealand, and has filedpatent applications in a number of other countries, althoughcompany representatives said a Canadian company holds thepatent for similar technology in the U.S.

Up to 45 percent of infants born to HIV-infected mothers areestimated to be infected themselves. NABI of Miami would liketo conduct clinical trials designed to prevent transmission toinfants prior to delivery.

HIVIG is prepared from the plasma of donors who are infectedwith HIV but are healthy and have a strong immune responseto the virus. The antibody-laden plasma is extensively testedand processed to inactivate any resident virus, and theantibodies are then purified and concentrated foradministration to patients. -- Nancy Garcia

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