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DUPONT ACQUIRES AMPLIGEN RIGHTS, STEPS INTO EARLY-STAGE AIDS DEVELOPMENT

Executive Summary

DUPONT ACQUIRES AMPLIGEN RIGHTS, STEPS INTO EARLY-STAGE AIDS DEVELOPMENT under an agreement with Rockville, Maryland-based HEM Research. In a May 28 press release DuPont said that it had "acquired a minority equity position in HEM Research Inc. and obtained certain rights to selected HEM products, including Ampligen, a potential AIDS drug." Ampligen, a mismatched, double-stranded RNA, is in the early stages of development as an AIDS therapeutic agent, the release notes. The patented interferon inducer was developed by scientists from Johns Hopkins and Hahnemann Universities, and previously tested in patients with kidney and colon cancer under an NCI grant ("The Pink Sheet" May 21, 1984, T&G-3). "DuPont can be very helpful to us in expanding the manufacturing and clinical capability for the development of Ampligen," HEM Research Chairman William Carter stated. "Additionally, DuPont has experience in developing and marketing diagnostics for AIDS." The company currently markets an HTLV-III antibody test kit under a joint venture with manufacturer Biotech Research. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. HEM, a privately held company, was founded in 1966 to analyze and develop mammalian cell culture and growth media. "Subsequently, it developed compounds to stimulate or amplify the immune system and was the first company to commercially produce beta interferon," the release notes.
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