The FDA has granted orphan drug status to CoCensys Inc.'s lead anti-convulsant compound, known as CCD 1042, for the treatment ofinfantile spasms. In addition, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office hasissued Patent No. 5319115 for the biochemical methods used tosynthesize CCD 1042.Currently, CCD 1042 is in Phase I clinical trials in the U.S. and Europefor infantile spasm and petit mal seizures. Infantile spasm (also knownas West Syndrome) is a form of epilepsy which affects approximately22,000 children per year in the U.S. between the ages of 1 month and 3years. Approximately 240,000 people in the U.S. suffer from petit malseizures.Current primary treatments for infantile spasm are adrenocorticotrophichormones and corticosteroid hormones, both of which cause seriousside effects. Roughly 25 percent of children receiving standard therapydo not respond and die and about 50 percent of survivors continue tohave seizures or become severely retarded.CCD 1042 is a synthetically modified Epalon compound. Epalons areligands that enhance the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid(GABA). GABA is the central nervous system's predominantinhibitory neurotransmitter and its inhibition of neuronal activityproduces a calming effect.CoCensys, based in Irvine, Calif., has focused on developingtreatments for central nervous system disorders, including epilepsy,anxiety and sleep disorders. The company completed an initial publicoffering in January 1993 at $9 per share, grossing $23 million. Its stock(NASDAQ:COCN) has dropped dramatically since then, closingTuesday at $3, up 13 cents a share. _ Lisa Piercey
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