Marrow-Tech Inc. of La Jolla, Calif., will develop a humantissue system to screen oral drugs in a joint venture withProcter & Gamble Co. of Cincinnati.

Marrow-Tech will produce a specific number of kits for P&G'suse. The contract is worth "a six-figure number," Marrow-Techspokeswoman Louise Williams said.

With this project, Marrow-Tech (NASDAQ:MAROA) hopes to addto its two commercial test kits already on the market: adermal and a full-thickness skin grown on nylon mesh. The newproduct will be a kit containing oral mucosa cells, the tissuethat lines the mouth. Marrow-Tech already can grow thistissue in the lab, and expects to bring it to market by June ofnext year.

Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), one of several companies thathelped Marrow-Tech develop its Skin2 test kits, "will do theexpensive biological testing" of the oral kit, Williams said,while Marrow-Tech perfects the quality assurance, qualitycontrol and manufacturing procedures.

Marrow-Tech projects a modest market at first for itsproducts, with potential to grow as researchers catch on tothe concept of tissue substitutes for whole-animal toxicologytesting, according to company Chairman Arthur Benvenuto.With the launch of its first two kits last November, sales forthe first quarter this year totaled $39,000, Williams said.

Competitor Organogenesis Inc. (AMEX:ORG) of Cambridge, Mass.,also sells a dermal and full-thickness skin test. -- RobertaFriedman, Ph.D.

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