American Biogenetic Sciences Inc. said Thursday that it hasreceived a notice of allowance for a U.S. patent on itsmonoclonal antibody for imaging blood clots.

The Notre Dame, Ind., company's MH-1 is a murine monoclonalantibody fragment linked to technetium. It targets the cross-linked fibrin component of blood clots. Phase I trials arescheduled to begin in February or March.

ABS is also looking at MH-1 as a vehicle to deliver clot-dissolving drugs to the clot. That research is in in vitrodevelopment.

The company's shares (NASDAQ:MABXA) rose 13 cents to $7.88.

ABS will face stiff competition in the world market for bloodclot imaging agents, which it estimates at $1 billion annually.Centocor Inc. has completed Phase III trials of its Fibriscintimaging agent and plans to file this month for marketingapproval by the Food and Drug Administration. Malvern, Pa.-based Centocor plans to file for European approval early nextyear.

Fibriscint is also a mouse MAb fragment linked to technetium.It binds to a portion of the fibrin molecule only in new clots,according to Centocor spokesman Richard Koenig. Patents haveissued. Centocor (NASDAQ:CNTO) closed at $52, up 63 cents.

Bio-Technology General Corp. is entering the market with aradiolabeled genetically engineered fragment of the fibronectinmolecule that binds strongly to fibrin.

The New York company announced Thursday that it has beguna pilot clinical trial of FBD (fibrin binding domain) to detectboth clots in veins (venous thrombosis) and lung clots(pulmonary emboli). Together, those clots directly cause100,000 U.S. deaths annually and contribute to an additional100,000 deaths. Patents have been filed but haven't issued yet.BTGC shares (NASDAQ:BTGC) rose 75 cents to $8.63.

Cytogen Corp. is developing molecular recognition units, smallchains of amino acids that mimic MAbs at a fraction the size.The Princeton, N.J., company's Thromboscan is a chain of 17amino acids linked to technetium that targets the fibrinogenreceptor on platelets. Cytogen is beginning clinical trials withinthe next few weeks for deep venous thrombosis andpulmonary emboli, said Martin Cleary, chief financial officer.Patents have been filed but haven't issued yet. Cytogen shares(NASDAQ:CYTO) were down 13 cents to $21.25. -- KarenBernstein

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