SangStat Medical Corp., a private biopharmaceutical company,announced its first significant corporate partnership onMonday to develop transplant-testing products with BaxterHealthcare Corp.

Baxter's Renal Division provides products and services topatients with kidney failure, particularly dialysis patients, saidAlan Armer, group marketing manager for transplant business.Most transplant recipients receive kidneys, and the agreementwith 5-year-old SangStat of Menlo Park, Calif., will extendBaxter's worldwide marketing and distribution to include threeof SangStat's transportation products.

The products are based on using soluble HLA tissue markerswith SangStat's proprietary technology. Pra-stat and Cross-statwill detect previously existing HLA antibodies in prospectivetransplant recipients, which could generate acute organrejection. Typ-stat will establish cross-matching of antigensbetween host and donor.

In addition to paying an initial licensing fee, Baxter ofDeerfield, Ill., has taken a 5 percent equity position in SangStat,and will pay royalties and milestone-based licensing fees.

The products eliminate the need for live blood cells, which arecurrently isolated from donor blood, incubated with serumfrom the transplant candidate and treated with complement,which kills cells in antibody complexes. Each transplantcandidate must be tested for 50 antibodies, said PhilippePouletty, SangStat's president and chief executive officer.

Since about 300 candidates may be checked against each donor,the testing is laborious. This panel reactive antibody testing,developed in the 1960s, also relies on visual scoring of celldeath. The new system "will greatly improve standardizationand may contribute to enhanced graft acceptance," Poulettysaid.

-- Nancy Garcia Associate Editor

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

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