By Meredith Bonner

UCB Pharma, in an effort to further pharmaceutical research in the areas of allergy, asthma, and the central nervous system, has purchased the research and discovery assets of CytoMed Inc., which is based in Cambridge, Mass. UCB Pharma, of Brussels, Belgium, has acquired rights to the allergy applications of CytoMed's anti-inflammatory, dual-function inhibitor compounds and early research programs.

The transaction provides for payments totaling $12 million for the acquired assets and has the potential to provide up to $6 million in product development and milestone fees. UCB also will assume certain ongoing activities associated with the research and discovery component of CytoMed and its facilities' costs.

Under the terms of the agreement, UCB has offered employment to about 35 research scientists and laboratory personnel. Thomas Beck, who served as CytoMed's president and CEO prior to the acquisition, has also been offered a position in UCB's senior management. CytoMed will retain a staff of about 15 people to oversee the clinical development of its product portfolio.

CytoMed has created a portfolio of potential products for the treatment of inflammatory disorders, said Chairman Frederick Kyle, and the agreement with UCB will give CytoMed more funding to move ahead in research.

"We also plan to continue to maintain CytoMed's strategic focus on anti-inflammation product development and its lean infrastructure," he said.

With the agreement, CytoMed will commit resources to the strategic development of its current product portfolio, which includes CMI-977, an oral leukotriene modulator in Phase I trials for the treatment of asthma; CMI-392, a topical product in Phase II trials for the treatment of chronic inflammatory skin disorders; and CMI-CAB-2, an injectable complement inhibitor in preclinical studies for the treatment of acute pulmonary inflammation. *