Medarex Inc. (NASDAQ:MEDX) announced Wednesday that ithas developed a humanized version of one of the murineantibodies it uses in its bispecific antibody therapeutic.

Speaking at the CS First Boston Healthcare Conference inLondon, Donald Drakeman, Medarex's president and chiefexecutive officer, said: "The antibody is essentially 99 percenthuman, with only the highly specific antigen recognition sitesof the antibody still derived from mice. Thus, the humanizedtrigger antibody maintains the binding affinity of the originalantibody and should not appear as foreign to a patient'simmune response."

The Princeton, N.J., company's collaborator, Scotgen Ltd. ofAberdeen, Scotland, actually did the humanizing, thoughMedarex retains all rights to both the original and humanizedforms of its Trigger antibody -- which is the portion of thebispecific antibody that binds to Fc receptors on immune cells.(The second antibody targets the foreign organism or cancer tobe destroyed.)

Medarex expects to begin human clinical trials with itsbispecific antibodies for treating HIV and cancer by the end of1993.

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