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Japanese Deal Gives Nexell Shares a Boost

May 10, 2000|Bloomberg News

Nexell Therapeutics Inc.'s surging stock made another strong advance Tuesday after the Irvine company said Japan's largest maker of distilled spirits will sell Nexell's biotechnology products in Asia.

The stock, which has more than quadrupled so far this year, moved up 28% during the session before settling back to $5.66, a gain of 64 cents, or 13%, in heavy Nasdaq trading.

Nexell, which develops cell therapies for cancer and other diseases, will get a "multimillion-dollar" payment from Takara Shuzo Co., which will be the exclusive distributor of Nexell products in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China.

The two companies also will jointly develop genetic technology to treat medical problems.

Takara Shuzo, based in Kyoto, said last month it would set up a gene-mapping unit to compete with European and U.S. rivals such as PE Corp.'s Celera Genomics subsidiary. It already sells DNA chips, or glass slides containing gene fragments used to identify genes that play a role in diseases.

Nexell's stock climbed 55% Friday on news that the company's product was one of the key components in a groundbreaking gene therapy used by French scientists to treat three babies with "bubble boy disease," a disorder that keeps newborns from developing a complete immune system.

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