Enzon Inc. and Baxter International Inc. have signed anagreement giving Baxter non-exclusive worldwide rights toEnzon's single-chain-antigen-binding (SCA) protein technology,Enzon said Monday.

Under the terms of the deal, Enzon will receive certainundisclosed up-front payments and payments based onwhether Baxter decides to market SCA-developed products.

SCA proteins can identify and attach themselves to specificantigen targets on the surface of cells. Because they are smallerthan conventional antibodies, they can be modified more easilyfor "enhanced performance" in several applications, accordingto Enzon.

Baxter's biotech group will use the SCA proteins in its cancerresearch programs focusing on human stem cell isolation andgene therapy.

"This collaboration represents a major step in our licensingprogram for the SCA protein technology," said R. Douglas Hulse,Enzon's vice president of business development.

The deal follows negotiations begun last week between Enzonand Creative Biomolecules (CBM) that would combine Enzon'sSCA technology and CBM's biosynthetic antibody binding (BAB)site protein technology for product development.

Enzon spokeswoman Donna Chappina told BioWorld that as partof the company's ongoing licensing program for SCA, it intendsto take on additional collaborative partners, including researchinstitutes as well as companies.

"We do have some SCA proteins in preclinical animal studiesthat we're working on with the National Cancer Institute in thecancer detection area," said Chappina.

Enzon of Piscataway, N.J., uses its proprietary SCA protein andpegnology technologies for drug development focusing ongenetic diseases, cancer therapy and blood substitutes. Thecompany is in the midst of a convertible exchange stockoffering and hopes to raise about $40 million dollars from thesale of 1.6 million shares, Chappina told BioWorld.

Enzon's stock (NASDAQ:ENZN) closed at $8 a share on Monday,up 13 cents.

-- Michelle Slade Associate Editor

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