Atrix Laboratories Inc. has announced that it will conduct newstudies on its Perio drug delivery system for humanperiodontal disease that will delay filing for a new drugapplication.

The Fort Collins, Colo., company (NASDAQ:ATRX) is notelaborating on what it will be studying because the informationgained from Phase III tests includes "some that could bebeneficial to us from a competitive standpoint," said Dale Clift,vice president of operations.

"We are extremely confident we will file an NDA on theproduct. It will just be delayed," Clift told BioWorld. Filing forthe Perio drug delivery system had been expected by midyear.

Atrix stock closed Tuesday at $13.75, down 25 cents.

Perio uses the company's Atrigel technology, which involves apolymer that turns solid when it contacts liquid and can releasea drug over time. Perio releases a plant-derived anti-microbialcalled sanguinarine. Atrix isolates sanguinarine and holds apatent and license to the drug.

Clift identified Alza Corp. (AMEX:AZA) as Atrix's primarycompetitor in bringing sustained-release antibiotics to theperiodontal market.

In January, Atrix signed a development and option agreementwith The Upjohn Co. to study drug delivery for animal healthcare products. The pharmaceutical company will have aworldwide exclusive license to Atrigel in animal health care inexchange for royalties.

Atrix also entered into an agreement last week with Colgate-Palmolive Co. in which Colgate will co-fund development of abiodegradable membrane to guide healing after gum surgery.Colgate will have exclusive rights to market the product.

Atrix purchased total rights to the Atrigel technology from theSouthern Research Institute of Birmingham, Ala. The purchaseprice was $4 million, half in cash, half in stock, Clift said.

-- Roberta Friedman, Ph.D. Special to BioWorld

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