Argus Pharmaceuticals Inc. has received a small businessinnovation research (SBIR) grant to pursue an immune systemmessenger that the company expects will prove useful incancer therapy.

The $50,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute will fundthe effort to isolate and clone the messenger, an as-yetunnamed cytokine that is produced by macrophage cells of theimmune system. The research will take place at the M.D.Anderson Cancer Center of the University of Texas in Houston,which has licensed the cytokine technology to Argus. UT hasapplied for a patent on the cytokine, said Ken Cohen, companyvice president.

Argus, based in The Woodlands, Texas, is also pursuing AIDStherapy with a macrophage-based drug called AR-121 that isin Phase I clinicals. Argus has exclusive worldwide rights topatents covering the lipid-based delivery system for AR-121.The patents were recently issued to M.D. Anderson.

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