Chiron Corp. stock picked up $4.25 on Thursday, closing at$74.25, after the Food and Drug Administration's bloodproducts advisory panel recommended testing blood plasma forhepatitis C.

Chiron (NASDAQ:CHIR), which dominates the screening market,estimates the recommendation will result in $25 million intotal additional hepatitis C screening test sales annually.

Chiron of Emeryville, Calif., and Ortho Diagnostic Systems ofRaritan, N.J., which have a joint business, control about 60percent of the hepatitis C test market, Chiron spokesman LarryKurtz told BioWorld. Abbott Laboratories, which is a Chironlicensee, controls the rest. Ortho/Chiron, which sells the testfor $3.25, had hepatitis C test sales totalling $155 million in1990.

About 12 million plasma units are drawn every year in theUnited States, but only 7 million to 8 million units will haveto be tested because of the large number of repeat donors.Testing is likely to begin in November, Kurtz said. -- KarenBernstein

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