Sepracor Inc. (NASDAQ:SEPR) has begun Phase I trials of its single-isomer form of albuterol for the treatment of asthma.Nancy Gray, senior director of business development for theMarlborough, Mass.-based company, said the product conforms withSepracor's strategy of working with FDA-approved drugs such asracemic mixtures and developing single isomer versions of those drugsthat have fewer side effects.Albuterol as presently marketed by Schering-Plough Corp. (proventil)and Glaxo Inc. (ventolin) consists of two isomers, an R isomer and anS isomer. Gray said that the S-isomer, thought to be inactive, had beenshown in Sepracor's pre-clinical trials to have deleterious effects onbronchial tissue. Sepracor's trial will examine whether R-albuterol as asingle isomer yields therapeutic benefits in the treatment of asthmawithout adverse side effects, Gray said.Sepracor estimates that sales of albuterol in 1993 exceeded $1 billion._ Philippa Maister

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