EPITOPE STOCK UP 33 PERCENT IN A WEEKCommon stock of Epitope Inc. has risen 33 percent in the pastweek, following last Thursday's Food and Drug Administrationapproval of the Beaverton, Ore., company's EPIblot HIV-1Western blot confirmatory test. Epitope stock (AMEX:EPT)closed at $23 on Wednesday, up from $17.25 at the close oftrading last Wednesday.

Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. of Hercules, Calif., and BiotechResearch Laboratories Inc. of Rockville, Md., are also licensed tosell Western blot tests, which are the most frequently usedmethod of confirming the results of positive AIDS screeningtests, said Gilbert Miller, chief financial officer at Epitope.Biotech Research last year merged with Cambridge BioscienceCorp.

SPEARMINT NOW KEEPS ITS FLAVOR

Your chewing gum need no longer lose its flavor on the bedpostovernight. Columbia Laboratories Inc. of Hollywood, Fla., onWednesday said it has received U.S. patent No. 4,992,280 for apolyvinyl acetate polymer into which flavoring agents aredispersed. Chewing gum, which normally loses its flavor within10 minutes, retains it for several hours using the polymer,Columbia said.

The technology can also be used to deliver drugs to treat gumdisease or as a delivery system for systemic drugs. Columbiahopes to license the technology for commercial use.

Columbia's major focus is on bioadhesive delivery systems forwomen's health care products that utilize a polycarbophilbioadhesive polymer.

APPLIED MICRO LICENSES AMBICIN TO CIBA

Applied Microbiology Inc. of New York, announced Wednesdaythat it has signed a worldwide licensing agreement with CibaGeigy AG of Switzerland for its patented Ambicin anti-microbial peptides, which will be used to treat mastitis in dairycows. Ciba-Geigy will be responsible for development costs.Applied (NASDAQ:APLY) anticipates that Ambicin will reachthe market no later than 1997.

The dairy industry is believed to spend $170 million each yearon antibiotics, the only current treatment for mastitis.

NIH REVIEWS PEPTIDE T APPLICATIONS

The National Institutes of Health is currently reviewingapplications from organizations seeking a license to developPeptide T, a drug that may be useful in treating mentaldysfunction caused by the AIDS virus.

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is believed to causeproblems of concentration and memory loss in some patients.Studies that showed Peptide T to be safe also showed thatpeople with these problems do improve when treated with thedrug, said Peter Heseltine, the principal investigator for theNational Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which developed it.

The results of the NIH licensing review will be announced April8. Among the groups seeking a license is the Integra Instituteof Potomac, Md., a non-profit medical research organization.

Peptide T will be tested for effectiveness in a new study of 150people infected with HIV, the NIMH announced this week. Thenew trial, being conducted at the University of SouthernCalifornia in Los Angeles, will compare the effectiveness ofPeptide T with a placebo, and will also test the safety andefficacy of Peptide T when used with AZT, the only approveddrug that fights AIDS directly. -- Rachel Nowak

SYNERGEN, LIPO COMPLETE OFFERINGS

Synergen Inc. of Boulder, Colo., and The Liposome Company Inc.of Princeton, N.J., separately announced on Wednesday thecompletion of previously announced public offerings ofcommon stock. Synergen NASDAQ:SYGN) sold 2.5 million sharesat $34.50 per share, raising gross proceeds of $86.25 million.Synergen closed Wednesday at $35.50, up 50 cents. Liposome(NASDAQ:LIPO) sold 3.5 million shares at $10.75 per share,raising gross proceeds of $37.6 million. LIPO closed at $11.88,up 13 cents.

PIONEER PURCHASES RFLP PROGRAM

Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. of Des Moines, Iowa, onWednesday said it has purchased the restriction fragmentlength polymorphism (RFLP) program of Native Plants Inc.(NPI). Terms of the purchase weren't disclosed.

The combination of Pioneer's own RFLP program with NPI'sprogram makes it one of the most advanced in the agriculturebusiness, said Ann Bublitz, Pioneer's manager of businessdevelopment.

RFLPs are used to make genetic maps. Proteins calledrestriction enzymes snip DNA into fragments of varyinglengths. The points at which the DNA is cut and the resultingpieces of varying lengths are called polymorphisms. Thesepolymorphisms can be used as genetic markers.

Knowing which RFLP markers are linked to individual traitsincreases the ability of breeders to determine if those traits arepresent in new plants. Conventional identification relies onfield studies of whole plants.

RFLP profiles can also be used to obtain patents and to identifyproprietary germ plasm.

NPI decided to sell its RFLP program to focus on thedevelopment of environmentally compatible biochemicals, thecompany said.

ECOGEN BOARD OKs DEAL WITH ROUSSEL

Ecogen Inc. of Langhorne, Pa., on Wednesday said Roussel-Uclaf's board of directors had formally approved a marketingand R&D deal that will provide Ecogen with $12.73 million overthe next four years. The agreement, announced in January,gives Paris-based Roussel a limited right to sell Ecogen's Btbioinsecticide in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, China andLatin America. Ecogen (NASDAQ:EECN) retains marketing rightselsewhere, as well as worldwide manufacturing rights.

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.