Baxter Healthcare Corp. last week punted its cell separation technology into a joint venture with VimRx Pharmaceuticals Inc. after vigorously defending the technology against alleged infringement by CellPro Inc.'s Ceprate SC Stem Cell Concentration System.

That Baxter no longer appeared prepared to oversee development of the technology seemed at odds with its interest in pursuing CPRO (Bothell, Wash.) in litigation that started in 1992. In April, after a federal court jury ruled that CPRO had infringed two patents held by Johns Hopkins University covering CD34 monoclonal antibodies and purified stem cells used in CPRO's system, Baxter moved to finish the job. The company, joined by fellow plaintiffs Becton Dickinson and Johns Hopkins, filed a motion that seeks a permanent injunction against sales of CPRO's system (see BioCentury, April 14).