APPLIED BIOTECH TO BUY OUT DU PONT VENTUREApplied bioTechnology Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., announcedthat it agreed in principle to acquire Du Pont's interest in a 5-year-old joint venture, which will become the basis forApplied's cancer diagnostics business.

"We will be buying that business back in the next few weeks,"said Steven M. Peltzman, president and chief executive officerof the privately held company. No purchase price or termswere disclosed.

The joint venture received more than $20 million ininvestment to develop products based on oncogene and tumorsuppressor gene technology.

"I don't think that the area of oncogene and tumor suppressorgenes is that much of a risk any longer." Peltzman said. Rather,it is now a matter of how large a business it will become.


Bio-Technology Group plc of Oxford, Britain, said that it expectsto finish this year two clinical trials of its AIDS vaccine, saidKeith McCullagh, the company's chief executive officer. It alsoplans to start clinical tests of its BB-94 anticancer agent, asynthetic compound that inhibits the tissue-degrading enzymesthat aid metastasis of tumor cells.

For the second quarter ended Oct. 31, 1990, the company hadan operating loss of 1.78 million pounds (U.S. $3.4 million) onrevenues of 1.26 million pounds ($2.4 million).The company recently appointed James Nobel as its first chieffinancial officer. It hired as director of clinical research anddevelopment Dr. Peter Blake, formerly director of research atICI America.


Gilead Sciences, a privately held company in Foster City, Calif.,announced a new research program, termed aptamertherapeutics. Aptamers are oligonucleotides with randomsequences that can inhibit the function of molecules other thangenetic materials, such as proteins. Large numbers of aptamerscan be generated in a single experiment and rapidly tested fortheir ability to block specific biological activities. Dr. JackSzostak, a pioneer in aptamers at Harvard Medical School, hasjoined the Gilead scientific advisory board. Gilead also hasobtained an exclusive license to aptamer patent applicationsfrom the Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.


California Biotechnology Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., said ittrimmed its cash burn rate to less than $3 million per year.With products moving into advanced clinical trials, "we see thatrising somewhat in '91," said Richard L. Casey, CBI's presidentand chief executive officer. The company has $31.7 million incash and faces no immediate need for additional financing,Casey said.

CBI's (NASDAQ: CBIO) immediate hopes ride on its atrialnatriuretic peptide (ANP) for treating renal disorders. Caseyreported "very encouraging" results clinical trials to treatradiocontrast-induced nephropathy . The company aims to filea new drug application in 1993 for treating acute renal failure,estimated at $260 million worldwide. He said that ANP couldreach the market in 1994.


Cetus Corp. (NASDAQ: CTUS) has sent requested efficacy data onIL-2 to the Food and Drug Administration showing a patientsubset with an improved risk-to-benefit ratio. ... Mycogen Corp.(NASDAQ:MYCO), a biopesticide company based in San Diego,expects to report its first profits ever for fiscal 1991, projectingnet income of $1.7 million for the year ending Sept. 30. Thecompany has $72 million in cash and an annual burn rate of$12 million. Mycogen broke even for the 1990 fiscal year. ...Celtrix Laboratories, the soon-to-be spin-out of Collagen Corp.(NASDAQ: CGEN) of Palo Alto, Calif., expects to receive approvalsoon from the Securities and Exchange Commission to becomean independent public company.

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