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TELECONCEPTS TO MARKET THE FIRST ALL-HUMAN LINE OF MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY REAGENTS TO THE AIDS VIRUS

 TELECONCEPTS TO MARKET THE FIRST ALL-HUMAN LINE OF MONOCLONAL
 ANTIBODY REAGENTS TO THE AIDS VIRUS
 HOUSTON, June 18 /PRNewswire/ -- TeleConcepts Corporation (AMEX: TCC) announced today that its merger partner, Thermascan, Inc. (NASDAQ: THEM), has obtained exclusive North American distribution rights to a panel of 14 all-human monoclonal antibody reagents which are directed against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1).
 The licensor, Waldheim Pharmazeutika Ges.m.b.H. of Austria, is also the licensor of Thermascan's other product, FLUOROGNOST HIV-1 IFA, an immunofluorescence assay which is the only HIV-1 test approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for both screening and confirmation purposes.
 In contrast to antisera or polyclonal antibodies, which are purified from immunized animals and represent the total humoral immune response to the antigen, monoclonal antibodies are very specifically directed against certain immunogenic parts of the virus which can be mapped with high precision. They are, therefore, widely employed as the tools of choice to target fluorescent, enzyme or electron microscopy contrast labels to these portions of HIV-1. In vitro studies have proven that monoclonal antibodies conjugated with certain cellular toxins might hold potential for selective elimination of HIV-infected cells. Others, which interfere with the complex replication cycle of the AIDS virus at some point, might be promising as agents of passive immunization.
 Currently there are several monoclonal antibodies to the AIDS virus on the market, all of which possess the same main drawback; they are almost exclusively mouse material. Thermascan's new set of 14 monoclonal antibodies, however, have a decisive difference; all are human material obtained by isolating carefully selected antibody- producing B-cells from individuals infected with HIV-1 and immortalizing them by fusion with a lymphoid tumor cell line. As a result, for the first time there are commercially available reagents equivalent to human serum for all matters and purposes that are in virtually unlimited supply because they are produced by in vitro cell culture, which also eliminates any risk of infection.
 Human monoclonal antibodies also open up new perspectives in HIV research and therapy. They can be used as primary labels in tagging experiments in that they do not necessitate modification of the secondary anti-human antibody. They behave like human anti-HIV serum in all cell culture experiments, but lack the many unspecific side effects. In short, human monoclonal antibodies are ideal reagents for many different types of HIV researchers, as well as manufacturers of certain antibody test kits.
 Although the panel will currently be marketed exclusively as a research tool, some members of the set carry more potential. Four of the monoclonal antibodies are neutralizing antibodies, that is, they have the capacity to block HIV binding to the target lymphocytes and/or fusion of infected T-cells, and consequently, inhibit the progress of infection. It is conceivable that they will prove much more stable than mouse antibodies if an infected individual is passively immunized with such agents, as all attempts to use mouse antibodies have been severely hampered by the rapid degradation of these zenoantibodies in the human circulation.
 Next month, shareholders of TeleConcepts and Thermascan are expected to approve the merger of the two companies. After the merger, the medical diagnostics and biotech business will continue in a separate company, Viral Testing Systems Corporation (VTS), to be listed on the American Stock Exchange. The telephone business will continue as TeleConcepts, Inc. (new symbol: TCX), currently listed on the American Stock Exchange.
 -0- 6/18/92
 /CONTACT: Dr. Detlev Baurs-Krey of Thermascan, 516-287-3739, or Paul J. Montle of TeleConcepts, 713-228-4633/
 (TCC THEM) CO: TeleConcepts Corp.; Thermascan Inc. ST: Texas, New York IN: MTC SU: PDT


OS -- NY023 -- 1440 06/18/92 10:56 EDT
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Date:Jun 18, 1992
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