Marrow-Tech Inc. has signed a letter of intent to grant JanssenBiotech N.V. of Belgium, one of Europe's largest pharmaceuticalmanufacturers, exclusive rights to market Marrow-Tech'sSkin2 cytotoxicity screening kits throughout Europe.

Skin2 ("skin-squared") products contain cultured, living humanskin tissues that can be used to screen chemical compounds invitro for toxicity to humans.

Marrow-Tech and Janssen Biotech, a fully owned subsidiary ofJohnson & Johnson, aim to get regulatory approval to use invitro cytotoxicity screening in place of animal testing.

The United Kingdom and Germany are attempting to ban the useof live animals for screening. Other European countries mayfollow suit, and the European Community is encouragingdevelopment of in vitro testing technologies.

Marrow-Tech, based in La Jolla, Calif., developed a method ofshipping human tissue cultures abroad. The European marketingagreement and previous agreements to ship screening kits toTaiwan and Japan demonstrate that the kits are reproducible inthe United States and abroad, said Gail Naughton Marrow-Tech's executive vice president and chief operating officer.The company's shipments to Taiwan and Japan "are the firsttime ever that live tissue cultures have been shippedworldwide," according to Naughton.

Marrow-Tech (NASDAQ:MAROA) is developing human tissuecultures outside the body and a proprietary three-dimensionalcell culture system for potential therapeutic and laboratoryapplications. Marrow-Tech's Dermagraft skin graft product isin human clinical trials and has received Food and DrugAdministration approval to begin supplemental trials fortreating chronic venous skin ulcers next month. -- Kris Herbst

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