The Liposome Co. Inc. on Thursday announced an agreementwith Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories to develop a liposomal form ofa human influenza vaccine that will boost the immunestimulating effect of the drug.

Terms were not disclosed. But Marc Ostro, Liposome vicechairman and chief scientific officer, told BioWorld that thecontract contains various conditions for Wyeth as well as forLiposome Co. to meet, in contrast to most biotech-pharmaceutical company collaborations.

"We put in hurdles for them," Ostro said. "We had somethingthat they wanted."

The agreement, Ostro said, also stipulates "the usual" up-frontpayments and a "nice" royalty at the end.

Liposome Co. shares (NASDAQ:LIPO) were boosted $1.50Thursday to $23.63.

Wyeth-Ayerst, a division of American Home Products Corp.,will conduct the development effort. In animal experiments atboth companies, the liposomal adjuvant has produced a boostedimmune response to the vaccination.

"We tested over 60 different liposomes, and we settled on thisone (because) it stimulates an immune response far more thanany other liposome reported before. And it seems to be totallynon-toxic," Ostro said.

Small recombinant molecules are rarely taken up bymacrophages, the cells that are needed to stimulate a long-lived immune response. So the liposome adjuvant should proveuseful in boosting other recombinant vaccines as well. "In alllikelihood, we will be making (other) deals," said Ostro.

The Princeton, N.J., company already has patents on theliposome adjuvant. Ostro said he expects clinical trials of theliposome as a flu shot adjuvant to begin by 1993.

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

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