Applied bioTechnology Inc. (AbT) of Cambridge, Mass., saidTuesday that it completed a previously announced purchase ofDu Pont Medical Product's stake in Oncogenetic Partners. Thejoint venture was set up five years ago to develop diagnosticsand therapeutics based on tumor suppressor genes andoncogenes.

No purchase price was disclosed, but the deal involves no up-front payment, Steve M. Peltzman, AbT's president, toldBioWorld. AbT is obligated to make payments to Du Pontcontingent on sales of products or technology developed byOncogenetic. AbT is also to pay off Oncogenetic's debt.

The sale is in line with Du Pont's 1989 decision to restrict itsdiagnostic product line to its core business of automated bloodchemistry analysis, said Du Pont spokesman Tom Preston. DuPont last year sold its HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)diagnostic business to Johnson & Johnson's Ortho Diagnostics.

Peltzman mentioned the purchase at the Hambrecht & QuistConference in Life Sciences early this month. (For moreinformation, keyword search Industry Library for010891CONFBRFS.)

Peltzman sees AbT's strong license and patent portfolio as oneof its strengths, and this move as solidifying its corporateposition. The joint venture, a 50-50 partnership, received morethan $20 million during the past five years.

AbT also bought Du Pont's in-house efforts to develop cancerdiagnostics using similar technology. AbT, which sellsoncogene-based assays as research reagents, aims to startclinical trials of an oncogene diagnostic within six months. It islooking for a partner to help with the trials. -- Carol TalkingtonVerser, Ph.D.

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