ImClone Systems Inc. announced Thursday that it has licensedits entire diagnostics technology to Abbott Laboratories ofAbbott Park, Ill.

Included in the New York company's (NASDAQ:IMCL)repertoire are its proprietary target amplification technologytermed repair chain reaction (RCR); AmpliProbe, which is aDNA/RNA probe system; and diagnostic products for cancer andinfectious disease. Abbott now has exclusive rights to marketthese products worldwide. In return, ImClone will get an up-front fee, research and milestone payments, and royalties onproduct sales.

The two companies also will collaborate in a five-yeardiagnostic R&D program. Abbott will receive the rights to anyand all diagnostic products that result, but ImClone gets todevelop any therapeutic applications that may arise.

Abbott gets "everything that ImClone has ever done indiagnostics, so that we can concentrate on our therapeutics andmove forward in the areas of cancer and hematology," SamuleWaksal, ImClone's president and chief executive officer, toldBioWorld. These include MelVax monoclonal anti-idiotypicantibody for treating malignant melanoma patients, which is inearly clinical trials.

"The specificity of RCR is exquisite," Waksal said. It apparentlyoutshines polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology as wellas the less well-known ligand chain reaction (LCR), atechnology that Abbott acquired from BioTechnicaInternational of Overland Park, Kan., several years ago. "RCRhas the greatest flexibility for formatting, especially inautomated systems," Waksal said.

ImClone's stock was up $1.50 a share on Thursday to $12.50.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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