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MARYLAND BIOTECH COMPANY DEVELOPS TEST AND POTENTIAL THERAPY FOR HAMBURGER POISONING

 GAITHERSBURG, Md., Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- MicroCarb, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on bacterial infections, announced today it has developed a rapid diagnostic test to detect the agent which caused the deaths of two children and 300 cases of severe food poisoning in the Pacific Northwest in recent weeks. The company also said its technology could lead to a drug to treat the illness.
 Dr. Vic Esposito, chairman and chief executive officer of MicroCarb, said the company had during the past three years developed proprietary, patented technology that detects the toxin produced by E. coli 0157:H7, which casued the serious outbreak of food poisoning from hamburgers consumed at Jack-in-the-Box restaurants. The company's test consists of special "receptors" which, when adapted into a screening process, could rapidly detect the presence of the dangerous bacteria in raw meat and in human stool specimens.
 Esposito also said that MicroCarb scientists could use antibodies to develop a potential therapeutic agent against the virulent toxin produced by the bacteria. "Our scientists have been working in this area for a number of years, but the known incidence of this poisoning has been too small in the past to justify a major development effort. Clearly the situation has changed, and we are moving this work to a very high corporate priority." Esposito added that the therapeutic agent might be developed into two immunotherapeutic drugs and that MicroCarb would consider filing an application for Orphan Drug status for those products.
 This particular bacteria was first identified in 1982 as the cause of acute hemorrhagic colitis, an illness characterized by sudden onset of severe cramps and debilitating diarrhea. While the infection is usually self-limiting, there is significant risk of a life-threatening complication, hemolytic uremic syndrome leading to kidney failure. The young and old are the most at risk, although anyone consuming contaminated meat could become infected. Antibiotic therapy has not proven beneficial and may even be detrimental.
 "This test is the first of its kind," said Dr. Howard Krivan, the company's chief scientific officer. "By knowing the precise molecular structure of the cellular receptor, we have developed a new receptor-based enzyme linked immunosorbent assay." Dr. James Samuel, the company's director of molecular biology, added, "Because E. coli 0157:H7 is not the only strain that can infect humans, the overall strategy for an effective diagnosis must be directed toward detecting the toxin rather than the organism." The company currently is working with major research centers in the United States and Canada to complete final development of the test.
 The company also said it was considering the recommendation of a development alliance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service to hasten completion of a test product. Esposito said he was trying to arrange meetings with USDA scientists. A potential joint venture alliance with a major pharmaceutical company might also be considered, he said, to stimulate rapid development of a therapeutic agent.
 MicroCarb Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company which is developing products to prevent, detect and treat infectious diseases, based on proprietary technologies to interrupt the processes by which disease pathogens attack and infect healthy cells. The company's securities are traded on the NASDAQ exchange under the ticker symbols CARB, CARBU (units) and CARBW (warrants).
 -0- 2/4/93
 /CONTACT: Vic Esposito, 301-590-0129, Peter Dorfman, 212-546-2359, or David Sheon, 202-778-1023, all for MicroCarb Inc./
 (CARB)


CO: MicroCarb Inc. ST: Washignton, Maryland IN: MTC SU:

KD -- DC036 -- 3131 02/04/93 15:42 EST
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Date:Feb 4, 1993
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