Gliatech Inc., which expanded its collaboration with JanssenPharmaceutica N.V. for development of drugs to treat Alzheimer'sdisease, said Wednesday a compound may be ready for clinical trialsin less than three years.

Financial terms of Gliatech's 1994 three-year agreement withJanssen, of Beerse, Belgium, were not disclosed nor were details ofthe current 50 percent expansion. Janssen is a subsidiary of Johnson& Johnson, of New Brunswick, N.J.

Analysts said the original deal was worth up to $20 million forGliatech. The increase in research funding and potential milestonepayments associated with the expanded collaboration pushed the totalto $30 million. Janssen also has the option of renewing the alliancefor two years beyond 1998.

Rodney Dausch, chief financial officer of Cleveland-based Gliatech,told BioWorld Today his company's researchers identified severalpotential lead compounds and one may be ready for clinicalevaluation in two to three years.

Gliatech's research on Alzheimer's disease is based on glial cells,which are believed to be involved in the build-up of beta-amyloid, apeptide in the brain associated with the senile plaque formationlinked to the disorder.

With expansion of the Janssen agreement, the pharmaceuticalcompany assumes responsibility for development of compounds inthree research projects related to beta-amyloid. The deal givesJanssen exclusive marketing rights and Gliatech will receiveroyalties.

In one Gliatech project, compounds are aimed at blocking the beta-amyloid receptor on glial cells to prevent an inflammatory response,which may cause the death of nerve cells.

Another approach focuses on preventing proteoglycans from bindingto beta-amyloid. Gliatech's research showed proteoglycans protectbeta-amyloid from being broken down.

The third project involves targeting compounds to inhibit beta-amyloid's activation of a complement assault on nerve cells.

Gliatech's most advanced products are its Adcon (adhesion control)devices, which are semisynthetic carbohydrate polymeric gels, forpreventing scarring and formation of adhesions following surgery.Adcon-L for use in lumbar surgery is on the market in Europe. AdconT/N for tendon and peripheral nerve repair surgeries is expected toget European approval this year.

Gliatech expects to submit Adcon L for approval in the U.S. by early1997.

Gliatech's stock (NASDAQ:GLIA) closed Wednesday at $11.87, up$1.87, a 19 percent jump. n

-- Charles Craig

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.