The Liposome Co. Inc. on Friday issued a statement that it saidwas aimed at possible infringers of its patent for formulationsof amphotericin B against fungal infections.

U.S. patent No. 5,059,591, issued on Oct. 22, 1991, coversamphotericin B complexed with cholesterol or a sterol, or awater-soluble derivative.

The Princeton, N.J., company (NASDAQ:LIPO) said, "Anyone whomakes, uses or sells a product containing amphotericin B and acholesterol or sterol, or a water-soluble derivative thereof, foruse in treating fungal infections will violate this patent. It isour policy to enforce all of our patents vigorously againstinfringers."

Liposome Technology Inc. (NASDAQ:LTIZ) of Menlo Park, Calif.,is in late Phase II trials of its Amphocil liposomal amphotericinB product. According to the company's November prospectus,LTIZ's patent counsel had reviewed the '591 patent andconcluded that Amphocil doesn't infringe.

LTIZ's lipid is cholesterol sulfate, which, despite its name, is anester, not a cholesterol or a sterol. Nor is it water soluble. "So itliterally doesn't infringe on Liposome's claims," Frank Martin,vice president of research at LTIZ, told BioWorld. LTIZ hasissued patents on Amphocil covering composition of matter andmethod of treatment.

Kidder, Peabody & Co. analyst Robert Kupor wrote on Fridaythat he doubted that the '591 patent covers LTIZ's technology.

LIPO General Counsel Allen Bloom declined to discuss whetherthe company considers LTIZ's formulation to infringe.

The start of Phase III trials of LIPO's ABLC (amphotericin Blipid complex), which is licensed to Bristol-Myers Squibb, wasput on hold in December because some batches of the drugwere out of specification.

On the NASDAQ Friday, LIPO shares rose $2.88 to $19.38 andLTIZ was up 25 cents at $18.13. -- Karen Bernstein

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