Unigene Laboratories Inc. said Monday that it plans to scale upproduction of the hormone calcitonin and will begin selling thehighly purified compound to the research community this year.

The Fairfield, N.J., company (NASDAQ:UGNE) said its patentedprocess will make it the low-cost producer of the compound,which it estimated has a world market of $1 billion. Calcitoninis a treatment for osteoporosis and is under investigation forother uses.

The company anticipates sales through one or moredistributors by midyear, although it may sell directly to theresearch marketplace.

Research-grade calcitonin currently is available for $120 to$240 a milligram through catalog sales from peptide producers.The Unigene price will be lower, said Ronald S. Levy, vicepresident.

The company's process to produce calcitonin can be applied toother peptide hormones, said Levy. The company may marketsuch compounds directly or with corporate partners, he said.

The stock lost 19 cents to close at $5.94 on Monday.

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