Molecular Biosystems Inc. (NYSE:MB) said it hasbegun Phase I testing of its albumen imaging agent, for judgingthe effectiveness of a newly placed coronary bypass graftduring the surgery.

The Albunex contrast agent, made from a human blood proteincalled albumen, is awaiting Food and Drug Administrationapproval for its use in diagnosis of heart problems byechocardiography.

A prior pilot study had evaluated the agent in patientsundergoing a coronary bypass with part of the saphenous veinused as the graft vessel. The new study will look at Albunex ineither saphenous vein or internal mammary artery grafts.

Use of the imaging agent just after the graft has been placedshould help surgeons decide if the repaired artery will supplyenough blood to the heart muscle.

The San Diego company's stock dropped 25 cents to $39.13 onWednesday.

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