LONDON — NeuroSearch A/S has extended its agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in the development of brasofensine, an oral dopamine reuptake inhibitor for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

The compound is in Phase II trials in the U.S. and Europe, and the new agreement extends the collaboration to include Japan. Development activities will be initiated in Denmark in preparation for clinical trials. The original agreement with New York-based Bristol-Myers Squibb was signed in 1995.

The Glostrup, Denmark, company also announced an agreement with U.K.-based Shire Pharmaceuticals, giving it exclusive rights to develop a series of AMPA receptor antagonists for central nervous system disorders.

The primary focus will be on NS1209 for the treatment of stroke. AMPA is one of the main receptors for the excessive glutamate that is a major cause of neuronal damage following stroke or cardiac arrest.

In animal models, blocking AMPA receptors by antagonists leads to neuroprotection. NeuroSearch said NS1209 overcomes the problems of poor water solubility and precipitation in the kidneys, which blocked the clinical development of previous AMPA antagonists. — Nuala Moran