MGI Pharma Inc. of Minneapolis severed its final link tobiotechnology research and development with an announcedsale on Tuesday of a minority stake in the Netherlands-basedagricultural biotechnology company Mogen International, N.V.

MGI (NASDAQ:MOGN) said last year it would shift to developingadvanced-stage drugs by acquiring experimental oncologytherapies, giving up its own laboratory research.

The company will book a one-time gain of $436,782 on cashproceeds of $489,913 from the sale of its Mogen stake toMogen's majority owner, Atrimo, N.V., an agriculturalbiotechnology company based in the Netherlands.

Founded in 1979 as Molecular Genetics Inc., MGI in 1984 wasthe first biotechnology company to market a monoclonalantibody, Genecol 99, which is used to treat scours in calves.

MGI created Mogen to develop biotechnology plant products.With the 1987 sale of a majority interest in Mogen, MGI startedshifting away from biotechnology R&D. It will continue toreceive "minor royalties" from a herbicide-resistant cornlicensed to American Cyanamid Co., said MGI's Lori Weiman.Cyanamid also controls a bovine somatotropin developed byMGI's now-defunct veterinary products division.

MGI markets Didronel IV Infusion for treating hypercalcemiaassociated with malignancy. Three cancer therapeutics are inPhase III trials. They include DDTC to reduce toxicity toplatinum used in chemotherapy and Pilocarpine HCL to treatdry mouth that accompanies radiation therapy. -- RachelNowak

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