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Executive Summary

PROGENICS SOLUBLE CD4 PHASE I STUDIES are slated to begin "within the next 12 to 18 months," according to the firm. Progenics said it is one of four companies to license patent rights of recombinant soluble CD4 from Columbia University. Also included in the "co-exclusive" patent agreement are Genentech, Biogen and SmithKline. The patent application for CD4, filed August 1986 on behalf of Columbia University, is still pending. Progenics plans to study the drug in 50-100 patients with Columbia University investigators at several university-affiliated hospitals. The Tarrytown, NY-based company has begun manufacturing CD4 in quantities needed for the clinical trial. In the area of research, the firm "is also working on several novel approaches for targeting and destroying the AIDS virus directly," a March 27 release notes. The license agreement includes "U.S. and foreign patent applications relating to current versions of soluble CD4 [now in separate clinical trials] as well as future CD4-based AIDS drugs," the company states, adding: "The license [also] concerns CD4 fragments, alone or linked to other molecules, which are capable of binding to the AIDS virus." Genentech was the first company to enter clinical trials with CD4 last summer and is developing a second generation CD4 product that links the soluble T4 receptor to immunoglobin G. Biogen began CD4 studies last fall and reports it is also developing a second generation CD4 product. The most recent entrant in the CD4 race is SmithKline, whose Treatment IND was approved in January. Results from these first generation CD4 safety studies are expected to be presented at the International AIDS Conference to be held in Montreal in early June ("The Pink Sheet" March 6, T&G-5).

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