Interneuron Pharmaceuticals Inc. is adding an anti-anxietycompound to its drug-development portfolio through alicensing agreement with Rhone-Poulenc Rorer.
The compound, IP 456 (formerly RP 62955), is a partial agonistat gaba benzodiazepene receptors. In comparison, William Boni,Interneuron's director of corporate communications, saidtraditional benzodiazepene anti-anxiety agents such as Xanaxand Valium are total agonists. The potential advantages of IP456 may include reduced levels of drowsiness and lowerpotential for addiction and alcohol interactions, the companysaid.
Interneuron (NASDAQ:IPIC) of Lexington, Mass., will receivemanufacturing and marketing rights to the drug in exchangefor licensing, milestone and royalty payments to Rhone-Poulenc. Rhone-Poulenc decided to license out the compoundwhen it shifted its drug-development priorities. The companyretained the option to market the drug in France.
Rhone-Poulenc conducted a Phase I trial of the drug in theUnited Kingdom, and Interneuron plans to begin a multidosePhase I trial in the U.K. later this year.
IP 456 will be Interneuron's first anti-anxiety drug. Thecompany's most advanced products target central nervoussystem disorders, including obesity, Parkinson's disease, stroke,head trauma and insomnia. Its lead compounds aredexfenfluramine, a seratonin re-uptake inhibitor for treatmentof insomnia, and citicoline for stroke and head trauma. Thecompany filed a new drug application for dexfenfluramine lastMay and an investigational new drug (IND) application forciticoline in November. Both drugs have been approved inEurope but are not marketed by Interneuron, which has amarketing agreement with Lederle Laboratories fordexfenfluramine.
Interneuron's one product on the market is a nutritionalsupplement for Parkinson's patients on L-dopa therapy. Theproduct, Hearty Balance foods, provides a balance between theamounts of protein and carbohydrate in the daily diet.
-- Brenda Sandburg News Editor
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