BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. has initiated a Phase II clinical trial ofits lead compound, BCX-34, for treatment of cutaneous T celllymphoma (CTCL).John Higgins, BioCryst's director of corporate development, said thestudy is for topical delivery of BCX-34, which is a small moleculecompound designed to inhibit proliferation of T cells by targeting theenzyme, purine nucleoside phosphorylase.The CTCL study will be a six-week trial involving 30 patients at theUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham and Washington UniversityMedical Center in St. Louis.CTCL, which affects about 5,000 people in the U.S., is a chroniccancer that spreads from the skin to internal organs. Median survival,according to BioCryst, is four years after diagnosis.Higgins said the Birmingham-based BioCryst also is testing BCX-34for psoriasis. A Phase II trial for topical treatment of psoriasis isexpected to begin next month. Higgins added that two Phase I/IIclinical trials for oral delivery and injection of the drug in the treatmentof CTCL and psoriasis are scheduled to begin by the end of this year.In addition to CTCL and psoriasis, BioCryst is attempting to developBCX-34 for treatment of allergic contact dermatitis and acute organtransplant rejection. _ Charles Craig
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