Bio-Technology General Corp. (BTG) announced Tuesday that ithas been granted U.S. patent No. 5,196,335 covering broadclaims for the gene encoding human copper/zinc superoxidedismutase (SOD), recombinant expression vectors andgenetically engineered cells containing the SOD gene.

The patent is assigned to Yeda Research and Development Corp.of Israel and is licensed exclusively to BTG (NASDAQ:BTGC) ofNew York. "Because of this patent, competitors will beprecluded from manufacturing copper/zinc SOD in the U.S.,regardless of whether the product is produced in yeast,bacteria or any other host cell," said Sim Fass, BTG's presidentand chief executive officer.

BTG is currently conducting a clinical trial on SOD's efficacy inpreventing bronchopulmonary dysplasia in prematureneonates, for which it has received orphan drug designation. Aswell, the company has received a use patent, No. 5,116,616, forSOD to protect humans from lung injury due to hyperoxia andhyperventilation.

Bio-Technology General is also determining the feasibility ofinitiating clinical trials on recombinant SOD for treating theneurodegenerative disorder amyotrophic lateral sclerosis(ALS). Researchers have linked the SOD gene to the familialform of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

BTG's stock closed Tuesday at $4.88, down 13 cents. -- JenniferVan Brunt

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