Interneuron Pharmaceuticals Inc. on Wednesday completed it itsacquisition of a Denver-based company with a drug about to go intoPhase III trials for heart failure.Owners of the company, Cardiovascular Pharmacology andEngineering Consultants (CPEC), received a 20 percent position inInterneuron's wholly owned subsidiary, Intercardia, Glenn Cooper,Interneuron's president and CEO, told BioWorld.The acquisition includes rights to develop bucindolol, a syntheticsmall molecule that CPEC had licensed from Bristol-Myers SquibbCo. Cooper said the deal was contingent on the National Institutes ofHealth (NIH) and the Veterans Affairs (VA) committing funding forthe Phase II Beta-blocker Evaluation of Survival Trial (BEST), whichwas received.The BEST study will begin early in 1995 with more than 3,000patients expected to be enrolled in 50 VA and non-VA hospitals,Cooper said. The patients will include those who remain highlysymptomatic with Class III or IV heart failure despite therapy withavailable agents.Patients will be randomized to groups consisting of bucindolol orplacebo, in addition to their regular medication. The primaryendpoint is mortality difference between the groups.Interneuron has agreed to commit up to $2 million for the study,while the federal government will pay as much as $16 million,depending on patient-enrollment milestones, Cooper said. The studyis expected to take between three to four and one-half years."Bucindolol is a unique beta-blocker in that it doesn't possess theintrinsic myocardial suppressant activity of most marketed andinvestigational beta-blocking drugs," Cooper said. "We are delightedthat the NIH and VA, after evaluating the pharmacology ofbucindolol and its existing extensive clinical data base, have selectedit as the only beta blocker studied in the BEST trial because of itsunique action on the heart muscle."Bucindolol now is the lead compound for newly formed Intercardia.Cooper said Interneuron will be looking to develop other technologiesand acquire additional compounds in the cardiovascular area forIntercardia.Interneuron stock (NASDAQ:IPIC) stock fell 50 cents Wednesday,closing at $6 per share. n

-- Jim Shrine

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