Adeza Biomedical Corp. on Monday said it will receive $10million in equity and development funding from Tokos MedicalCorp. in exchange for exclusive North American marketingrights to Adeza's assay for detecting pre-term births.

The assay identifies elevated levels of the protein fetalfibronectin, which is found in pregnant women prior todelivery.

Results of a multicenter trial, published in the New EnglandJournal of Medicine in September, showed that detection of theprotein in the vaginal cavity of pregnant women who hadsymptoms of early labor could accurately predict pre-termbirth.

The funding will be used to speed product development and toobtain Food and Drug Administration marketing approval. Thecompany predicts U.S. marketing approval by 1993, saidDonald Borsick, Adeza's director of marketing.

The assay is already marketed in Europe, and Adeza's Japanesepartner, Daiichi Pure Chemicals Co., is in the process ofobtaining marketing approval in Japan.

Borsick told BioWorld that Tokos will hold less than 10 percentposition in the privately held Sunnyvale, Calif., company. Tokos(NASDAQ:TKOS) of Santa Ana, Calif., provides home monitorsthat enable pregnant women to detect contractions that couldsignal premature delivery.

Adeza, the first biotech company founded "by ob/gyns forob/gyns," is focused on women's health care, according to Dr.Andrew E. Senyei, chairman and acting chief executive.

The company is banking on the recent baby boom, in which thenumber of live births has increased in the past two years to 4million annually, said Senyei, an obstetrician and gynecologist,and a founder of Molecular Biosystems in San Diego. AnotherAdeza co-founder, Dr. Nelson Teng, is director of thegynecologic oncology division at the Stanford UniversityMedical Center and developer of the antibody that is the basisfor Centocor Inc.'s Centoxin anti-sepsis treatment.

The company, formed in 1985 as Aspen Diagnostics, also has inits pipeline a blood test to detect endometriosis without havingto enter the body. Perinatal products in development includetests to predict preeclampsia and other problems of pregnancy.

The company previously raised $11 million over three roundsfrom Enterprise Partners, Asset Management, HarvardUniversity, 3i Ventures and Charter Ventures.

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

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