British Bio-technology Group plc said Friday that it hascompleted Phase I testing of its AIDS immunotherapeutic inhealthy, HIV-negative male volunteers.

Multinational Phase II trials of the drug, which is designed todelay the onset and/or slow the progression of AIDS, will beginlater this year, said Anne McBride, a spokeswoman for theOxford-based company.

Phase I subjects showed no significant adverse reactions, andthe vaccination produced the predicted cellular and antibodyimmune responses, the company said. British Bio-tech plans topresent full scientific results at the International AIDSConference to be held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, thissummer.

The immunotherapeutic uses virus-like particles (VLPs) thatcarry the p17 and p24 HIV core proteins on their surfaces. Thenon-replicating VLPs present foreign proteins to the body'simmune system to stimulate a response.

British Bio-tech holds three U.S. patents on the drug.

The privately held company plans to begin trials of two otherproducts this year. BB-94 will begin Phase I/II trials thisspring in post-menopausal breast cancer patients. The drug is amatrix metalloproteinase inhibitor that prevents cancer cells,once they have entered the bloodstream, from getting throughthe endothelial walls into other tissues.

The other compound is BB-882, an antagonist to theinflammatory chemical PAF with potential uses to preventasthma and to treat endotoxic shock.

British Bio-tech plans to go public this year. The companyraised $65 million in a private placement last July.

-- Karen Bernstein BioWorld Staff

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