A recent joint venture between two Canadian companies,designed to apply nuclear medicine imaging to infectiousdisease, has received up to C$2.3 million (U.S.$1.85 million)research funding from the Canadian Strategic TechnologiesProgram of Industry, Science and Technology.

The joint venture, Resolution Pharmaceuticals Inc., was createdby Allelix Biopharmaceuticals Inc. (TSE:AXB) of Mississauga,Ontario, and Nordion International Inc. of Ottawa to develop anew class of medical imaging agents to reveal the extent,progression and possible causes of infectious disease.

The agents are based on peptides attached to the radioisotopetechnetium-99. The synthetic peptides should function likefragments of a monoclonal antibody, David Evans, vicepresident of business development at Nordion International,told BioWorld. They are expected to exhibit an affinity foraccumulating in specific disease sites in the body, where theradioisotope tag can be visualized by a gamma camera. Usingthe small peptides should avoid allergic reactions and mayimprove chances of rapid regulatory approval, he added.

The FDA has only approved one monoclonal antibody forimaging in the U.S., Cytogen's Oncoscint.

Resolution's agents could potentially allow doctors to diagnosethe cause and nature of inflammation and infection withinhours, and select more specific treatment. For instance, Evanssaid, doctors might distinguish between acute and chronicinfection and use more specific treatment than generalantibiotics.

Allelix has licensed the imaging applications of its products toResolution. Nordion International, a subsidiary of MDS HealthGroup Ltd., is a leading supplier of the precursor totechnetium-99 and produces, markets and suppliesradioisotope products and related equipment worldwide.Nordion owns Medgenix Diagnostics s.a., a major manufacturerand distributor of radiopharmaceuticals in Europe. The imagingagents developed by Resolution will be marketed by Nordionthrough its international distribution channels.

-- Nancy Garcia Associate Editor

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

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