LipoGen Inc., which served as the University of Tennessee'sfirst effort to commercialize its high-technology innovations,was recently sold and dismantled.

Whittaker Bioproducts Inc. of Walkersville, Md., said that itpurchased LipoGen of Knoxville, Tenn., for an undisclosed sum.Whittaker, a wholly owned subsidiary of Whittaker Corp. of LosAngeles, received exclusive rights to the recombinant antigentechnology used in LipoGen's RheumElisa and RheumaStripautoimmune diagnostic kits, which are used to diagnose suchautoimmune diseases as arthritis and lupus.

The products were launched in mid-1989 and are primarilysold to commercial laboratories and rheumatologists.

LipoGen last September sold to Medical & BiologicalLaboratories Ltd. (MBL) of Japan exclusive marketing rights inthe Far East for its autoimmune test line for an undisclosedamount. It also received $3 million for a partial assignment of aDuke University patent covering production and use of clonedhuman autoantigens.

After the recent sale, LipoGen's facility was dismantled and itsequipment and technology moved to Whittaker. LipoGen had36 employees in 1989. LipoGen and UT officials wereunavailable for comment.

Founded in 1985, LipoGen initially focused its developmentefforts on liposomal drug-delivery technology developed byLeaf Huang, a UT biochemistry professor. It broadened itstechnology base by acquiring in 1987 recombinant DNAtechnology from Duke University. LipoGen had research anddevelopment agreements with Genentech Inc. and theUniversity of Cincinnati's Barrett Cancer Center.

Investors in privately held LipoGen included Hillman MedicalVentures, Norstar, New Enterprise Associates, Venture First,Lawrence Tyrell, Albemarle Partners and University ofTennessee Research Corp. -- Karen Bernstein

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