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Baxter says immune drug reduced infections

November 7, 2011

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NEW YORK—Baxter International Inc. said Monday its drug candidate HyQ, which is designed to treat a variety of immune diseases, reduced the rate of severe bacterial infections in a late-stage clinical trial.

Baxter is studying the drug as a treatment for primary immunodeficiencies, a group of immune system diseases that affects around 250,000 people in the U.S. The company said serious bacterial infections occurred at a rate of 0.025 per year in patients who were treated with HyQ. That met Food and Drug Administration requirements. Baxter said patients might be able to give themselves a single infusion of HyQ every three to four weeks, rather than get the drug through an IV drip.

HyQ is made up of intravenous immunoglobulin and an enzyme developed by Halozyme Therapeutics Inc. Immunoglobulin is a blood product used to treat immune disorder and infections. The enzyme, called recombinant human hyaluronidase, is designed to temporarily break down a substance in the body that forms a barrier between cells so drugs can be absorbed faster. That would allow some drugs to be delivered by an injection instead of an IV drip.

Shares of Baxter rose 71 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $54.40 in afternoon trading, while Halozyme stock dipped 3 cents to $8.45.