Private biotech companies continued to make presentationsThursday to venture capitalists attending the Mid-AtlanticVenture Fair '91 in Baltimore. Highlights from the two-dayconference continue today and will continue next week inBioWorld Today.

Affinity Biotech Inc.

The Boothwyn, Pa., company is developing oil-in-water andwater-in-oil microemulsion systems that allow thereformulation of peptide and protein drugs so that they can betaken orally instead of by injection.

Affinity plans to begin human trials in the United Kingdom inNovember for colonic delivery of calcitonin via a suppositoryand in January for oral delivery of calcitonin. Productintroduction is "probably three to five years away," said AlanDickason, president and chief executive officer.

The systems are based on generally regarded as safe (GRAS)ingredients, so they should receive prompt Food and DrugAdministration approval, Dickason said.

Affinity owns the microemulsion technology that wasdeveloped by a former subsidiary of the Sun Co. oil company,which spun off Affinity in 1990. Affinity has applied for twobasic patents on this technology. Three more patents on otheraspects are pending, and five applications are in progress.

The company also owns 17 U.S. patents and 98 foreign patents,with 58 foreign patents pending, for the development ofsynthetic blood based on perfluorocarbons. Many of thesepatents were originally owned by Sun Co. Perfluorocarbons arehydrocarbons for which the hydrogen atoms have been replacedwith fluorine atoms, making it metabolically inert and betterable to dissolve in oxygen.

Affinity raised $250,000 in first-round financing in November1990 and $300,000 through the sale of convertible debt lastApril. Investors include Churchill Investment Partners,Congressional Capital Group, Philadelphia Ventures and S.R.One Ltd. Sun holds warrants for about 10 percent of thecompany.

Affinity will raise $500,000 from the original investors in athird round that will be completed this month, and hopes toraise $2 million to $3 million from other venture funds earlynext year, Dickason told BioWorld.

-- Kris Herbst BioWorld Washington Bureau

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