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Alliance and Schering ink contrast pact

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Alliance Pharmaceutical of San Diego and Schering of Berlin, Germany, last month signed an agreement in which Alliance will grant Schering licensing rights to its Imagent US ultrasound contrast agent. Imagent US is based on microbubbles that contain a

Alliance Pharmaceutical of San Diego and Schering of Berlin, Germany, last month signed an agreement in which Alliance will grant Schering licensing rights to its Imagent US ultrasound contrast agent. Imagent US is based on microbubbles that contain a mixture of perfluorochemical vapor and a physiological gas to enhance ultrasound images. It is being targeted for the assessment of cardiac function and perfusion, as well as for the detection of tumors in solid organs. The agent has completed phase II clinical studies for cardiac function.

In exchange for rights to the agent, Schering has agreed to pay licensing fees, reimburse for Alliance's R&D expenses, and purchase a minority interest in Alliance. Imagent US will complement other ultrasound agents in Schering's R&D portfolio, including Levovist and Echovist, which are on the market in some European countries but are not sold in the U.S. So far, Alliance and Imagent US have managed to avoid the recent controversy over ultrasound patents and litigation (SCAN 8/6/97).

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