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Draxis begins studies for DVT tracer

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A subsidiary of Canadian pharmaceutical company Draxis Health of Mississauga, Ontario, has begun phase I clinical trials of Fibrimage, a peptide-based agent for the detection of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). If it reaches the market, Fibrimage could be a

A subsidiary of Canadian pharmaceutical company Draxis Health of Mississauga, Ontario, has begun phase I clinical trials of Fibrimage, a peptide-based agent for the detection of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). If it reaches the market, Fibrimage could be a competitor to Diatide's AcuTect peptide-based radiopharmaceutical, which is also targeted at DVT.

Draxis acquired rights to Fibrimage through its purchase of the radiopharmaceutical business of Merck Frosst Canada, which licensed the polypeptide that forms the basis of the agent from Bio-Technology General of Iselin, NJ. Draxis renamed the Merck Frosst Canada unit Draximage and made it one of four Draxis business units.

In addition to developing Fibrimage, Draximage sells radiopharmaceuticals in ready-to-use forms for the treatment and diagnosis of thyroid gland disorders and kidney and lung function. It also sells freeze-dried non-radioactive kits for the diagnosis of inflammatory and neoplastic bone disease and kidney and lung ventilation studies.

Fibrimage is based on fibrin binding domain (FBD), a recombinant polypeptide with a high binding affinity for fibrin, the primary component of a venous thrombus. FBD, which was developed by Bio-Technology General, is a lyophilized (freeze-dried) kit that is labeled with technetium-99m prior to use with a labeling process that was developed by the Merck Frosst Canada unit before its acquisition by Draxis.

The phase I study of Fibrimage should be completed by the fourth quarter, with a phase II study to begin shortly thereafter. Draximage believes the technology could be an alternative to contrast venography and Doppler ultrasound for the detection of DVT.

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