Lidak Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Monday that it has begun acollaboration under which Chiron Corp. will use Lidak's hu-PBL-SCID mice as models to test two products for HIV infection.

Lidak's mice, which have severe combined immune deficiency,are grafted with mature human peripheral blood cells. Thehuman cells can be infected with the HIV virus, but theinfection doesn't advance to AIDS.

Chiron (NASDAQ:CHIR) will use the mice to test its gp 120vaccine and its ENV 2-3 vaccine, said company spokesmanLarry Kurtz. The gp 120 vaccine, which can be used as both apreventive and a therapeutic product, uses a native gp 120protein, fully folded. "The vaccine would virtually mimic theappearance of HIV in the bloodstream, and you would expectfrom that to have the best antibody response," Kurtz said.

The ENV 2-3 compound is an unfolded version that doesn'tfully resemble the protein and would be used for therapeuticpurposes only. "We hope to have more of a cell-mediatedimmune response because it displays more epitopes," Kurtzsaid.

Terms of the deal weren't released. Shares of La Jolla, Calif.-based Lidak (NASDAQ:LDAKA) rose 13 cents to $2.06. Chiron ofEmeryville, Calif., lost $1.50 to $47.75. -- KB

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