), co-founded in the late 1980s by Dr. Jonas Salk, developer of the polio vaccine, has talked to two drugmakers as possible partners for its new drug Remune. This is an immune-based therapy for HIV patients who haven't yet taken antiretroviral drugs (the so-called cocktail). Now in Phase 2 clinical trials in Spain and having just started tests in Italy, Remune is aimed at slowing the advance of HIV and delaying the need for antiretroviral drugs, which have toxic effects. CEO John Bonfiglio says Remune boosts the immune system to attack HIV and stimulates HIV-specific immune responses. Confirming his talks with possible partners, Bonfiglio says a partnership would speed tests. Robert Wasserman of Dawson James Securities says a marketing partner would boost the stock and enhance approval of Remune in three to five years. He rates the stock, at 2.45 a share, a buy -- with a 12-month price target of 8. Alan Jacobs of Capital Growth Equity Fund, which owns shares, reports that earlier trials were "promising."
Note: Unless otherwise noted, neither the sources cited in Inside Wall Street nor their firms hold positions in the stocks under discussion. Similarly, they have no investment banking or other financial relationships with them. By Gene G. Marcial