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McDONNELL DOUGLAS CONTINUING SEARCH FOR ERYTHROPOIETIN DEVELOPMENT PARTNER

Executive Summary

McDONNELL DOUGLAS CONTINUING SEARCH FOR ERYTHROPOIETIN DEVELOPMENT PARTNER: the company has narrowed discussions to "two or three" pharmaceutical companies to find a replacement for its first two partners, Johnson & Johnson and Riker. Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing's (3M) drug subsidiary, Riker, pulled out of the erythropoietin space production project in March shortly after the Challenger disaster. Riker had replaced J&J, which pulled out of the project in September 1985. "The space shuttle accident has caused us to make some significant changes in our program plans," McDonnell Douglas' Don Clifford told a June 3 seminar at the Drug Information Assn. annual meeting in Washington, D.C. "As it stands right now, because of the shuttle delays due to the Challenger accident, we have essentially discontinued work on our flight hardware." Clifford explained that McDonnell Douglas has "mothballed" its two models of continuous-flow electrophoresis production devices. In addition, Clifford said that the firm has transferred its EOS engineering personel to other programs. "It's just impossible for us to maintain a sizable staff of engineers on an indefinite basis," Clifford commented, "so we mothballed them in anticipation of pulling them out again as soon as we get the launch dates re-established." Until a new launch schedule is determined, McDonnell Douglas is continuing its erythropoietin production on the ground, Clifford reported. "We're still in a very critical portion of our program because we are trying to get to market with the erythropoietin hormone and, consequently, our biologists have redoubled their efforts and we are now moving into as much production as we can do on the ground with our ground separation chambers," Clifford said. He added that the company's goal is to "build up an inventory that will be sufficient to take us through initial clinical tests."

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