Cypros Pharmaceutical Corp.'s first compound, CPC-111, isentering a Phase II trial for use in the treatment of adultrespiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The drug is a smallmolecule that the Carlsbad, Calif., company believes cangenerate cellular energy in the absence of oxygen.

The double-blind, placebo-controlled study will involve 60patients enrolled over a two-year period at one study site.Cypros is funding the trial, which will be conducted by aninvestigator who licensed the cytoprotective drug to Cypros.The investigator has an approved investigational new drug(IND) application for the study. In December, Cypros obtainedan IND approval to study CPC-111 in patients with acutemyocardial infarction; the company plans to file an IND for itsown ARDS study this year. Cypros has four patents on CPC-111covering 12 indications.

The company, which began operations in 1992, is focused ondeveloping drugs that act on the glycolytic pathway. Thispathway generates anaerobic metabolism -- energy (adenosinetriphosphate) in the absence of oxygen. Specifically, Cypros isdeveloping drugs to treat diseases characterized by ischemia(impaired blood flow) such as heart attack and stroke, said PaulMarangos, the company's chairman, president and chiefexecutive officer. He said he knows of no other companydeveloping drugs that target this pathway.

Marangos explained that by facilitating anaerobic metabolism,a drug can keep tissue alive longer and minimize the damagedone to organs and tissue during ischemia, stroke and ARDS. InARDS, lungs become inflamed and lose their ability to getoxygen into the blood.

The company's second compound, CPC-211, acts by reducingthe accumulation of lactic acid in the brain that occurs aftercerebral ischemia. In January, Cypros filed an IND forintravenous administration of this drug to treat stroke, and thecompany plans to begin Phase I studies within several months.

Cypros netted $5.9 million from its initial public offering inNovember 1992, and Marangos said the company has raised atotal of $9 million.

-- Brenda Sandburg News Editor

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