Boston Life Sciences Inc. (BSLI) entered into its first post-mergercorporate collaboration, as it signed a deal Wednesday with theZeneca Group plc related to research on inhibitors of majorhistocompatibility complex Class II gene transcription.

Zeneca, of London, will fund at least two years of research in thecollaboration, and afterward could pay Waltham, Mass.-based BLSIup to $8 million in development milestones, as well as royalties onsales.

The work will be done with BLSI's collaborating scientist, LaurieGlimcher, at Harvard University. Zeneca will screen its smallmolecules for inhibitors of the transcription factors identified byGlimcher, and develop any lead compounds.

BLSI and Greenwich Pharmaceuticals Inc., formerly of FortWashington, Pa., finalized their "reverse merger" earlier this monthin which Greenwich was the surviving entity but BLSI assumedcontrol. The deal was done in part as a means of allowing BLSI to gopublic. BLSI, with four research programs of its own, also has theGreenwich technology, which includes failed carbohydrate drugs forrheumatoid arthritis as well as a number of undeveloped compounds.

BLSI has no manufacturing or laboratory facilities, but does its workthrough various collaborations.

"Our model is to enter into sponsored research agreements with someof the local universities to fund early stage research, then progress thetechnology by entering corporate partnering agreements or throughcontract research organizations for early development," said GeorgeEldridge, BLSI's vice president, corporate development and finance.

The idea in the Zeneca deal is to prevent or regulate the expression ofMHC Class II cells, which may play an important role in autoimmunediseases. BLSI's work is directed at transcription late in expression.

David U'Prichard, a Zeneca research director, said, "Thiscollaboration will place Zeneca in a leading position in the field ofMHC control at the transcriptional level for diseases such asrheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and diabetes."

BLSI has about 80 million shares outstanding, 35 million held byformer Greenwich shareholders. Its stock (NASDAQ: BLSI) gained28 percent Wednesday, or 22 cents, to close at $1 in trading of 1.2million shares. n

-- Jim Shrine

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