Amgen to purchase Igen's screening system


Gaithersburg-based Igen International Inc. said yesterday that Amgen Inc. has agreed to purchase the company's screening system, which can detect drug activity against a wide range of diseases at the same time.

Biotechnology giant Amgen, based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., is the third major client for the system.

In March, drug giant Pfizer Inc. was the first company to sign on for Igen's Origen screening system, followed by Agouron, a La Jolla, Calif.-based biotechnology company.

Analysts say the interest from major biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies is not unexpected because Igen's palm-size diagnostic system allows screening in small laboratory settings rather than in large, centralized laboratories.

The companies will use the Origen system to see if new drugs they are developing show any activity against specific diseases and medical conditions, Igen said.

Igen anticipates an important source of revenue from sales of chemical mixes, called reagents, which are used as part of the screening process. The $200 million annual market for reagents is expected to triple in the next several years.

Pub Date: 5/19/98

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